Foxboro Mass --
Presidents come and go - George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. The Miami Dolphins, though, stay the same: disappointing and mediocre. The Miami Dolphins had the chance for a statement win Sunday and came to Gillette Stadium lifeless. Hopefully for their sake, they played golf, rode the duck boats, or eat some chowda while in New England. At least, they would have gotten something out of their road trip.
The Pats running game improved and rookie running back Sony Michel played great and showed that he is worthy of a first round pick. Local talk radio said he was a bust this week. Thankfully, Michel was not listening who finished with 25 carries, 112 yards and one touchdown. The Pats wisely made the offensive adjustments necessary to win after a pathetic 10-point showing in Detroit.
Tom Brady acknowledged last Sunday (at the suggestion of yours truly) that the Pats need to get RB James White more involved. After Rob Gronkowski, White is the Pats second best offensive skill position player. White had two touchdowns Sunday - one running and one throwing. He had a 22 yard rushing touchdown and 14-yard touchdown. Brady was impressed with White's ability to track down the ball on his touchdown catch because of the high throw.
"I knew where he was running and I knew I didn’t have much time to wait for him to get there, so I just tried to flip it up there to the back corner. Right when I let it go, I thought, ‘We’ve got a shot.’ And I kind of looked under some legs and saw him put his arms up and make a great catch. So, it was pretty sweet. Those are fun ones," Brady said.
Given the versatility of RB James White, his presence on the field confuses defenses - because they don't know whether the Pats will run or throw. White, who is the only player left from the Pats 2014 draft class, showed admirable patience the past few weeks when he deserved more touches. White had the Pats only touchdown against Detroit. White finished with eight carries for 44 yards and had eight catches for 68 yards. White like Michel finished with 112 total yards.
"I think both those guys did a great job – Sony, and James always does a great job. You know, he played a big role today and it was a big win today. We needed it, and hopefully we can build on it, gain some confidence in some things. You know, it’s a quick turnaround, so it’s good to win and we’ve got to get ready to go again here shortly," Tom Brady said after the game.
The Pats might have found themselves an excellent running combination with RB Sony Michel and James White. Michel as the powerful workhorse running with James White as the change of pace back. The combination produced 224 yards in total. When a team has Tom Brady as its QB - any running game is a bonus. The Pats have found a way to get a lot of production out of journeyman running backs since Bill Belichick became coach. Think Antowain Smith, Corey Dillon, Deion Lewis and LaGarrette Blount. The theory was that in today's NFL where the defense is barely allowed to tackle the quarterback (just ask Clay Matthews) it is not worth investing a high draft pick or spending a lot of money on a running back. The Pats took Laurence Maroney in 2006 in the first round who lasted only four seasons with the team (one of which he missed entirely). Bottom line, he was a huge disappointment.
Some thought the Pats would never take a running back again in the first round and many questioned the Pats decision to take Michel in the first round of the 2018 draft. The Pats, though, likely recognized after Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola departed that they needed more talent on offense and they liked Michel better than any receiver or tight end that could help them. Bill Belichick taught his assistant scouts and personnel evaluators stay true to the board - meaning take the best player available and don't draft for need.
Sunday, the Belichick draft philosophy paid off.