Getting to know the Miami Dolphins

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As one would expect with a team after 14 weeks, the Miami Dolphins have undergone some significant changes since the last time they played the New England Patriots.

In Week 1, the Dolphins recorded a 33-20 victory over the Patriots sparked by a gameplan that featured a steady diet of inside-zone runs. But they didn't handle prosperity too well, losing three of their next four.

Here are a few notable differences with the Dolphins since that time as the clubs prepare for a rematch Sunday in New England:

  • Starting left tackle Branden Albert (torn ACL) was placed on season-ending injured reserve in early November, and both starting tackles have looked vulnerable at times since.

  • Arguably their best offensive lineman, Mike Pouncey, missed the Week 1 game because of a hip injury. He returned in early October and has played right guard after starting his career at center.

  • Running back Knowshon Moreno (early October) and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (early September), both of whom played Week 1 against the Patriots, landed on IR.

  • Safety Reshad Jones and defensive lineman Dion Jordan, both of whom had served four-game suspensions to open the season, are back and making some impact plays.

  • Running back Daniel Thomas was re-signed in September, and at 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds, he offers a complement to Lamar Miller (5-10, 224).

  • Special teams gunner Don Jones, who was waived and claimed by the Patriots the week before the opener, is now back with Miami.

  • Starting safety Louis Delmas was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Monday (torn ACL)

For more of the Dolphins, below is our weekly primer (And the Week 1 primer as well):

Record: 7-6

Head coach: Joe Philbin (3rd year)

Offensive coordinator: Bill Lazor

Defensive coordinator: Kevin Coyle

Special teams: Darren Rizzi

General manager: Dennis Hickey


1. RG Mike Pouncey. The 2011 first-round draft choice has started all nine games since returning from a hip injury, and his athleticism and versatility has shown in adapting to the guard spot, as the Dolphins kept the less versatile Samson Satele at center. It still looks like Pouncey (6-5, 305) has a role in making line calls, and there are times when he rocks back and has a sudden movement into his stance that appears to be a borderline false start.

2. WR Jarvis Landry. The 5-foot-11, 202-pound Landry has emerged as a play-making spark on offense (63 catches) and as a returner. Selected with the 63rd overall pick, which came immediately after the Patriots selected quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, he's doing his part to contribute to a highly impressive rookie receiver class. The Dolphins rank fourth in the NFL in kickoff return average in large part because of Landry.

3. QB Ryan Tannehill. The 2012 first-round draft pick continues to grow into the job, and one thing that stands out is his ability to make plays with his feet. Quarterback rollouts and keepers are part of the attack and his accuracy has improved, as he had completed at least 70 percent of his passes in the five games prior to Sunday's loss to the Baltimore Ravens.


1. S Reshad Jones. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Jones finds a home on our "solid safeties few talk about" list. He's started all nine games since coming off suspension, has three interceptions and seven passes defended this season to go along with 54 tackles. He also shows up on coverage units.

2. CB Brent Grimes. The Dolphins' No. 1 corner might not have the prototype physical makeup (5-10, 190), but plays bigger with an impressive vertical leap. He's having a fine season after signing a big contract in the offseason, compiling five interceptions and 12 passes defended.

3. DE Cameron Wake. The story remains the same -- the explosive pass-rusher can ruin a game. The Patriots need no reminder of this as he helped the Dolphins turn things around their Week 1 win over the Patriots. His 9.5 sacks lead the team.

Extra points: Miami's run defense has looked vulnerable, as it is giving up an average of 123.5 rushing yards per game. Opponents are averaging 4.4 yards per rush, ranking the Dolphins 27th in that run-defense category. ... This is the Dolphins' third road game in four weeks, as they are coming off a 28-13 home loss to the Ravens in which they opened a 10-0 first-quarter lead and then faltered. ... Speed receiver Mike Wallace leads the team with seven receiving touchdowns. ... As usual under coach Joe Philbin, the Dolphins have a low penalty total, with just 64 accepted infractions. However, defensive back Jimmy Wilson had three penalties in Week 11 against the Broncos ... Punter Brandon Fields is one of the NFL's best (just two touchbacks, 18 inside the 20). ... Rookie tight end Arthur Lynch, who grew up in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, has been on season-ending injured reserve since late August (back). ... ESPN's James Walker has the Dolphins covered.