Patriots

On The Beat: What are the former Patriots up to with the Dolphins? Also, changes on offense and possible x-factors

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(Adam Richins for BSJ)

Every week, we up our prep on the Patriots’ next opponent with our “5 questions…” feature where we check in with a writer who covers New England’s next opponent. For this week’s game against the Fish Tank, we talk with my first Dolphins beat partner, Joe Schad of The Palm Beach Post. Check him out on Twitter here. Thanks to Joe for his time.

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1. How have the ex-Patriots, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and Ted Karras fit in, and what kind of role do think they'll have against their former team on Sunday?

It's interesting. Kyle Van Noy was voted a captain by his teammates ahead of Jerome Baker, who gets pushed aside. He was a captain last year. Elandon Roberts also voted a captain and these guys haven't been here long at all and Ted Karras is another captain and key contributor. So all three guys have made fabulous first impressions. The Dolphins need Van Noy, who will play on Sunday with a soft cast on an injured hand, to lead the team in sacks this year. That is the calling for him. Roberts has really been a vocal enforcer type in camp. Surprised me with how aggressive and enthusiastic and just mean he is. The Dolphins need that type ... I didn't know that's what the Dolphins were getting. This Roberts guy would be like a fighter in hockey. He'd go around the ice looking to take someone's head off. And so he'll be in on run packages. They'll go with Kamu Grugier-Hill, another former Patriot, on the passing downs. Forgot about him. Seven former Patriots players, four former Patriots coaches. So 11 here. You guys only have one former Dolphin that's a consultant of some sort. And Karras, the Dolphins hope he'll be an improvement over Daniel Kilgore, who was a good leader last year but was really pushed around in the trenches. The Dolphins figure to be 20 pounds or more bigger along the offense line; they added some huge people. And so they're going to try to run the football, they were the worst team in the league by far at running the football last year, but they think with Jordan Howard, Matt Breida and four new offensive linemen all of whom who are huge – huge — they think they can actually move people this year.

2. They bring back Chan Gailey at offensive coordinator ... how different will the offense be that beat the Patriots at Gillette last season?