New England Patriots: First Look at 5 Key Matchups vs Miami Dolphins in Week One

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2. Miami’s Linebackers vs Rob Gronkowski & Tim Wright:

Jul 24, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) and quarterback Tom Brady (12) during training camp at the team practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Miami safety Reshad Jones is suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season. That does not bode well with New England’s star tight end Rob Gronkowski announcing himself fit for duty. Last year Gronkowski struggled against Miami as he was held to 2 receptions for 27 yards as he worked himself into the lineup after a long layoff. The Dolphins mixed their coverage schemes on Gronkowski covering him with athletic rookie defensive end Dion Jordan on occasion and blanketing him with linebackers, safeties and cornerbacks.

Of course, now New England has added Tim Wright to the tight end rotation giving them a different look opposite Gronkowski. For the Dolphins, it is another wrinkle to prepare for against the Patriots. Expect to see new safety Louis Delmas is likely to find himself covering the tight end duo as well as linebacker Dannell Ellerbee. The last time the Dolphins faced a dynamic two-tight end set from New England was in week sixteen in 2011 (either Gronkowski or Hernandez missed the 2012 matchups) as Miami struggled to contain the pair of mismatch problems. Expect New England to highlight both tight ends to try to get cornerback Jimmy Wilson–who is starting at safety for Miami–in man coverage to take advantage of the size discrepancy.