Regardless of how the competition actually looks on the field, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has long made it a point to be effusive in positive observations about the next team on New England’s schedule.
There are times when that feels more organic than others. This is not one of those weeks.
The Dolphins are coming off a 59-10 loss to the Ravens that saw them fail to do much well in any phase of the game. That didn’t stop Belichick from saying Miami has “a lot of great players” and noting the team will be “well prepared” despite Dolphins players feeling that wasn’t the case.
“Last week was last week. I’m sure they’ll make a lot of corrections,” Belichick said on a conference call. “The first game, with a new program, is always a big learning experience for everybody and you just keep getting better every week. I’m sure we’ll get a strong effort from Miami this week and we’ve got to be ready to go. Again, they have a lot of good players, a lot of good skill players, a lot of good players on defense. They’re young, they’re aggressive, they’re talented and we’re going to have to contend with all of them and the scheme that they come up with. I’m sure they’ll have things that we’re not working on and we’ll have to be ready to handle those.”
The Dolphins are coached by former Patriots assistant Brian Flores, who Belichick said did a great job while he was in New England. If he figures out a way to go from losing by 49 to beating the Patriots, Flores will have plenty of others saying the same thing.