We know that the Patriots will go to Miami five days before they face Dolphins. The Patriots won’t know what they’re getting from the Dolphins until the game starts.
That seems to be something New England coach Bill Belichick relishes.
“That’s the $64,000 question on everything,” Belichick told reporters on Sunday. “Opening day is opening day. Nobody is really showing much in preseason. The cards will be on the table on Sunday. Like every opening game, I’m sure we’ll have to make some adjustments. Once we see what they’re doing and vice versa. That’s always the way it is.
“So you have to leave room for a little bit of the unknown, things that they’ve been working on that they haven’t shown. Or things specifically game-planned for you that you’ve had trouble with at some point. They’ve had a lot of time to prepare for the game, several months, as have we. So there’s a big part of the unknown. I think all of that will clear up in the first two to three weeks of the season when teams settle into their style of play that they want to bank on. But right now that’s not necessarily known. Again, league-wide for playing time for a lot of the key players on every team is low, so it’s hard to tell how some of their players are going to be used but we know guys that they’re going to feature. We’ll have to see how it goes.”
Of course, the Dolphins will be dealing with the same challenge, as Belichick prepares to unleash whatever he’s got cooked up for Miami and the other teams on the schedule.
“I think there’s always an excitement for opening day and to get the season started,” Belichick said. “That brings a lot of different things into the conversation. It’s really just taking all the work that you’ve done in the offseason and training camp, as players, as a staff, everybody involved and now focusing on a single opponent, whatever that actually means. So you just direct it there and that rolls into a lot of different aspects, but it’s just to have a high performance on the one time a week we get an opportunity to compete and that’s what we’re all going to shoot to do. So I think we’re all ready for that opportunity and excited to have it be pretty close to being here. No different than any other year. There’s a training time period and then there’s a competition time period, and we’re heading into the competition time period. So it changes things a little bit in a good way.”
It changes things a lot in a great way for fans. Patriots at Dolphins is just one of nine games that will start next Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET, when football is back with an explosion of excitement and activity.
Then, three hours later, fans of nine of those teams will be thrilled — and fans of the other nine teams will be upset.