The New England Patriots opened their 2020 season against the Miami Dolphins, winning 21-11 at home behind a productive running game and opportunistic defense. The two AFC East rivals will meet again this week, but there have been quite a few changes on both sides over the last 134 weeks.
Let’s therefore take a look back and see how the two clubs compare to their Week 1 versions.
The following 43 players from the teams’ last meeting on on September 13 are still on New England’s active roster:
C David Andrews, TE Devin Asiasi, K Jake Bailey, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, CB Justin Bethel, S Terrence Brooks, DT Adam Butler, CB Damiere Byrd, LS Joe Cardona, DT Byron Cowart, OT Korey Cunningham, S Cody Davis, S Kyle Dugger, OT Jermaine Eluemunor, K Nick Folk, CB Stephon Gilmore, DT Lawrence Guy, WR N’Keal Harry, OT Justin Herron, QB Brian Hoyer, CB J.C. Jackson, LB Anfernee Jennings, FB Jakob Johnson, CB Jonathan Jones, TE Dalton Keene, G Shaq Mason, WR Jakobi Meyers, S Devin McCourty, CB Jason McCourty, RB Sony Michel, QB Cam Newton, OT Michael Onwenu, S Adrian Phillips, LB John Simon, WR Matthew Slater, QB Jarrett Stidham, RB J.J. Taylor, G Joe Thuney, LB Josh Uche, RB James White, CB Joejuan Williams, LB Chase Winovich, DE Deatrich Wise Jr.
Meanwhile, the following nine players are no longer available for the Patriots:
RB Rex Burkhead, LB Shilique Calhoun, LB Brandon Copeland, WR Julian Edelman, G Hjalte Froholdt, TE Ryan Izzo, LB Derek Rivers, DT Xavier Williams, OT Isaiah Wynn
Offense: The Patriots offense has seen some changes since Week 1, both in terms of available personnel and roles. Three starters — Julian Edelman, Ryan Izzo, Isaiah Wynn — are no longer available due to injury (even though Edelman returned to practice this week), as is change-of-pace back Rex Burkhead. Meanwhile, Jakobi Meyers took on a starting receiver role with rookies Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi holding down the fort at tight end. Right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor has been replaced by rookie Michael Onwenu, but the veteran is now filling in for Wynn at left tackle. Furthermore, Damien Harris, who was on injured reserve in Week 1, has taken over the top running back role previously held by Sony Michel.
Defense: New England’s defense did not experience that much personnel turnover, with the losses of Brandon Copeland and Shilique Calhoun as the biggest departures. On the other hand, the unit saw the emergence of Josh Uche as the number three outside linebacker as well as the signing and promotion of Akeem Spence to the 53-man squad. Furthermore, second-round rookie Kyle Dugger has carved out a starting role after playing only 18 percent of snaps in Week 1.
Special teams: While the majority of New England’s special teams operation remains intact, the team did see a change at the returner positions. Gunner Olszewski is now only focusing on punts, while Donte Moncrief took over the kickoff role. The change has worked well for the Patriots.
Coaching staff: The Patriots have not seen any changes to their coaching staff so far this season.
The following 47 players from the teams’ last meeting on on September 13 are still on Miami’s active roster:
LB Jerome Baker, WR Lynn Bowden, RB Matt Breida, FB Chandler Cox, OT Julién Davenport, OT Jesse Davis, DT Raekwon Davis, C Michael Deiter, LB Samuel Eguavoen, S Clayton Fejedelem, LB Blake Ferguson, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, G Ereck Flowers, S Kavon Frazier, TE Mike Gesicki, WR Jakeem Grant, LB Kamu Grugier-Hill, P Matt Haack, WR Mack Hollins, CB Xavien Howard, OT Robert Hunt, CB Noah Igbinoghene, OT Justin Jackson, S Brandon Jones, CB Byron Jones, C Ted Karras, G Solomon Kindley, RB Patrick Laird, LB Shaq Lawson, S Bobby McCain, LB Calvin Munson, CB Nik Needham, DE Emmanuel Obgah, G Adam Pankey, WR DeVante Parker, WR Malcolm Perry, LB Elandon Roberts, S Eric Rowe, K Jason Sanders, TE Adam Shaheen, DE Zach Sieler, TE Durham Smythe, DE Jason Strowbridge, QB Tua Tagovailoa, LB Andrew Van Ginkel, LB Kyle Van Noy, DE Christian Wilkins
Meanwhile, the following five players are no longer available for the Dolphins:
RB Myles Gaskin, DT Davon Godchaux, RB Jordan Howard, CB Jamal Perry, WR Preston Williams
Offense: The biggest change on either team came in the form of Tua Tagovailoa. The first-round rookie took over as Miami’s starting quarterback during its Week 7 bye, replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick; the veteran completed 20 of 30 passes against New England in Week 1 for 191 yards and three interceptions. Elsewhere, the Dolphins decided to replace starting right tackle Jesse Davis with rookie Robert Hunt — giving Miami three rookie starters up front. Furthermore, running back Myles Gaskin remains on the NFL’s Coronavirus reserve list. He had nine carries for 40 yards on opening day.
Defense: As opposed to the team’s offense, the defense is still relatively intact. While starting defensive tackle Davon Godchaux had to be placed on injured reserve — rookie Benito Jones has since filled his spot on the roster — the rest of the unit has not seen any major changes. The biggest might be that ex-Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe has turned into an every-down safety for the club who rarely leaves the field.
Special teams: On paper, the Dolphins’ special teams operation did not experience any changes since Week 1. However, with Jakeem Grant dealing with a hamstring injury, the team might decide to give him limited exposure in the return game — possibly opening the door for others to take over at kickoff and punt returner.
Coaching staff: The Dolphins have not seen any changes to their coaching staff so far this season.