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Quick-hit thoughts on the Patriots’ blowout of the Dolphins: Some questions New England still needs to answer

Related: Instant analysis from Patriots’ 43-0 win over Dolphins

New England Patriots vMiami Dolphins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

What took place on Sunday in Miami was a beat down of the highest order. It’s almost pointless to talk about what the New England Patriots specifically did to dismantle the Dolphins, because Brian Flores’ team is essentially a JV football squad right now. Instead of talking about what went right, I thought I would look at a few question areas the Patriots will need to focus on moving forward.

Offensive line health

First up, is the health of the offensive line. David Andrews is out for the season, and, so far, except for the extremely slow snapping, Ted Karras has done pretty well in the middle. Marcus Cannon hurt his shoulder and was out last week, but hopefully he’ll be back soon. Isaiah Wynn left with a toe injury, and we don’t yet know the extent of the injury. Joe Thuney was also shook up for a while, but he gutted it out.

That’s four of five starters, and, if you listen to Greg Bedard and Pro Football Focus, they haven’t loved Shaq Mason so far this season. The most important thing is keeping Tom Brady upright and healthy this season, but New England can’t do that if everyone is hurt or not playing up to their potential. It hasn’t hurt the team yet, but it certainly could be a dangerous game that they’re playing.

Antonio Brown

There’s obviously a lot of work to be done to have him fit perfectly into the offense, but it was off to a great start on Sunday. The concern is his off-field problems. If there is more coming down the tube, as some have suggested, or if he decides to go back to his old ways, it could be an issue for the team. If the Patriots spend a ton of time making him a big part of what they do, and then he ends up suspended or cut, that could certainly put them at a disadvantage.

Stephen Gostkowski

Listen, I know Gostkowski stinks in Miami, but that performance was just terrible. Combine that with a few shaky but ultimately successful kicks on opening night, and I don’t know how you can have a ton of confidence in him moving forward. I know it’s a new holder, so it’s possible the whole operation just needs a little time to develop, but I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary happening on Sunday. Whatever the issue is, there’s no help coming, so the Patriots need to figure it out soon.

I can’t go the whole article without mentioning something good — it was, after all, a 43-0 win. The defense looks so damn good. They have tons of speed, play great fundamental football, and haven’t allowed a touchdown in three consecutive games. 76-3 is a pretty good start to season, and, with Trevor Siemian coming on a short week next weekend, the good times should continue. There’s a long way to go, but this team is shaping up to be one of the most dominant we’ve seen in years.

Pat is a host of The Patriot Nation Podcast

Interact with him on Twitter @plane_pats