Later today, the New England Patriots will face off against a Miami Dolphins team that has had its fair share of issues through its first 12 games on both offense and defense. At 6-6, however, the team is still very much in contention for one of the AFC’s playoff spots — and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick explained some reasons why in the latest episode of his film preview show The Belestrator:
Together with Patriots color commentator Scott Zolak, Belichick starts his breakdown by taking a look at the Dolphins’ special teams units — an extensive one that lasts more than half the length of the video and focuses especially on the punt return group. This tells you a) how well Miami plays in the kicking game, and b) how little there is on offense and defense that warrants a closer look.
“They’re doing really well on special teams,” Belichick said. “Their punt team, rush team, punt return team are very good.” The Patriots’ head coach points out how well Miami is containing the outside gunners and is able to get pressure on the punter with its rush group. “They do a good job of putting pressure on the punter, even if they only rush one or two of them. [...] They block kicks, they return kicks, they are very good in covering kicks.”
“They do an excellent job in the kicking game, period,” Belichick continued. “They are really well coached, they do an excellent job of creating big plays. [...] Their punt return team but all the special teams are good.” Afterwards, Belichick and Zolak quickly talk about cornerback Xavien Howard, who will of course miss today’s game because of a knee injury. The two finally talk about Miami’s offense near the end of the clip, noting how well Kenyan Drake performs as a runner when given space.