Miami Dolphins: How Past Experience Should Influence Joe Philbin vs. Patriots
Or is it?
Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin has some experience coaching an inexperienced quarterback against Bill Belichick's defense, but obviously, that experience didn't come with Miami and that quarterback was not Ryan Tannehill.
You have to go all the way back to Week 15 of the 2010 season to find it. Philbin, as the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers, traveled to Gillette Stadium with Matt Flynn starting his first career game in place of then-concussed Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers did a great job of opening up passing lanes for Flynn by establishing the run early and making Flynn's throws easier.
A diagram of his throws by direction, via ProFootballFocus.com, gives some insight into how Philbinfelt most comfortable attacking the Patriots defense, and how it translated onto the field.
The Patriots mixed up their coverages, but they gave Flynn opportunities to complete those short passes by blitzing him a lot more frequently than they normally do; they sent five or more defenders after Flynn on 21 of his 44 drop-backs.
That being said, the Dolphins will probably do a few things to try to counter the pressure from the Patriots defensive front, a unit which has struggled to get pressure this season and has begun blitzing a little more frequently over the past two weeks (28 of 90 drop-backs, 31.1 percent).
Take this throw, for example, on 2nd-and-7 on the Packers' first drive.
The Packers used the same formation on 3rd-and-5 in the second quarter, once again exposing the Patriots over the middle of the field in the process.
The Patriots only sent three men on the rush this time, allowing Flynn all kinds of time in the pocket to make the read and for Quarless to get open.
It wasn't always about giving the illusion of the run, though.
How does all this apply to Sunday's game?
They have recently turned things around in the running game, but will that continue against the Patriots defense which ranks 10th against the run?
On the other hand, New England's dominance against the run could be another reason to dip into the game plan that worked so brilliantly in 2010. The Patriots do not have good cover linebackers, which has prompted them to rush the linebackers a bit more frequently.
A matchup with the Patriots may seem like uncharted territory for Philbin, but his experience against them could pay dividends if he is able to draw on it.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained via team press releases.
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