Probably the most disappointing Dolphins unit in Sunday’s debacle against the Ravens was the secondary, because it was a group largely unaffected by the roster dismantling, aside from safety T.J. McDonald’s release.
And after allowing Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson to throw for 324 yards and five touchdowns and produce a perfect 158.3 passer rating, the Dolphins are making at least some changes against New England’s potent passing attack.
Safety/cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick said his role against the visiting Patriots this week will be different than the previous week, when he played 12 snaps at slot cornerback, four at boundary cornerback, seven on the defensive line (in an edge role) and 26 snaps in the box, as a linebacker.
“We had discussions on a different role,” he said, adding this role likely would change again for the Dallas game in Week 3.
Is he at peace with all of this?
“Just got to do my job,” he said.
He said his role changing week to week was the plan all along, not the byproduct of Sunday’s defensive meltdown. For competitive reasons, he obviously cannot discuss his new role.
Meanwhile, safety Reshad Jones missed practice Wednesday with an ankle injury, and his status for Sunday is in question.
Safety Bobby McCain said all the Dolphins defensive backs watched tape of Sunday’s 59-10 Baltimore rout with cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer and safeties coach Tony Oden, and it was predictably painful.
“One of the toughest [film sessions] I’ve had,” McCain said. “As hard as that meeting is to sit in there and look at that [butt] whooping, you got to get those corrections and take that criticism, because it’s going to make you a better player. We didn’t have too many mental errors [Sunday]. It was more physical, understanding the technique, the game, where we’re supposed to be, alignments.”
Quarterback Tom Brady, the Patriots’ three-time NFL MVP, might have his best group of receivers ever, with seven-time Pro Bowler Antonio Brown joining former Pro Bowler Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman.
Brown on Wednesday practiced with the Patriots for the first time since joining their team, but coach Bill Belichick was noncommittal about whether he would play Sunday.
“We can’t let balls go over our head,” McCain said. “As a secondary, we’ve got to understand you won’t be in any games if you let the ball go over our head.”
McCain said he’s still “100 percent” confident in the Dolphins’ defensive system.
▪ Receiver Albert Wilson missed practice with hip and calf issues, injuries that limited him to six snaps against Baltimore. Linebacker Trent Harris (foot) remains sidelined; he hasn’t practiced since being claimed off waivers from New England.
▪ Though the Dolphins gave new contracts to cornerback Xavien Howard, offensive lineman Jesse Davis and receiver Jakeem Grant, Miami hasn’t done the same with impending free agent running back Kenyan Drake.
Drake indicated he’s not bothered by that. “The things I do right now are going to put me in the best position to get the things I want at the end of the day,” he said.
The Dolphins could consider moving Drake before the trade deadline.
Drake and Fitzpatrick both said Wednesday that they have not requested trades.
▪ Davis, on his three-year, $15 million contract extension: “I was pumped up, want to be here. I want to be involved in this organization as long as they keep paying me. It doesn’t matter where I play, whatever they tell me to do, I’ll do it.”
▪ With the Patriots visiting Sunday, Drake was asked how often he has watched his game-winning “Miami Miracle” touchdown against the Patriots last December.
“I don’t personally go and look for it, but whenever it comes up, I find myself looking through the duration of the play and all the details of it,” he said.
He said he hasn’t seen the ball since it was moved to a display at Hard Rock Stadium, with his blessing.
▪ Linebacker Jerome Baker said Flores made clear, on Monday, that “he expected us to look in the mirror. It wasn’t just our fault. It wasn’t just the coaching staff’s fault. It was our fault [as a group].”
▪ Flores, a former Patriots assistant coach, said he doesn’t believe there’s anything he gleaned from working with Brady that could help get in his head.
“He’s a great player, and he’s somebody I have a lot of respect for,” Flores said. “He’s a great leader. He’s a great person. We’ve competed against each other, and we’ve gone back and forth [in practice], but he’s a good friend also. He knows that we’re going to be ready to compete. ... That’s why we love the game — because we love challenges. To me, this is fun.”