Not to let the cat out of the bag here — since it will be part of my Monday morning column — but here are three adjustments the Patriots made to deal with Pat White running option out of the Pistol this afternoon …
1) Pressing the edge: After the Dolphins’ five-play, 80-yard TD drive, Ricky Williams said the Patriots “brought their outside linebacker up to the line, so our tight end couldn’t get off to the middle linebacker.”
That accomplish two things. It allowed the inside linebackers to flow to the ball. And it made it easier to control the edge, not allowing the speed option to hit the perimeter.
2) Safety help: In the pistol, which is basically a half-shotgun, White had a tailback behind him, and an off-set fullback to one side. Whatever side that fullback was lined up to, after the Dolphins’ early success, was the side to which the Patriots would drop a safety in the box.
It made the numbers game there, of course, easier to win. The Dolphins could’ve turned that around on the Patriots by throwing the ball, but White never made them pay.
3) Assignment football: Defending the option is the same at almost any level. It boils down to everyone following their assignment, and sticking to it.
The Patriots had to get those assignments sorted out after what happened during White’s early outburst, and once they did, they were harder to deal with. Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano, a stout blocker, said that “They figured out who the option man was, and that made it tough for us to seal the edge.”