MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 13: Jaylen Waddle #17 and Tyreek Hill #10 of the Miami Dolphins celebrate after a play in the first quarter of the game against the Cleveland Browns at Hard Rock Stadium on November 13, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked quite a bit about how the Patriots’ injuries at cornerback – and resulting lack of size at the position – created significant mismatches at the position. As the injuries continue to pile up there looks to be another mismatch this week, just not in terms of size.
The good news for the Patriots is that the Dolphins’ top two receivers, who combined are responsible for over 50 percent of Miami’s total passing production this year, are both 5-foot-10. The bad news is that those two receivers are Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, two of the most explosive players in the game.
On Sunday, the Patriots will have to contend with them with what will likely be a deeply depleted secondary. Jalen Mills (groin), Jack Jones (knee), and Marcus Jones (concussion) haven’t practiced all week and are unlikely to play. Meanwhile, Jonathan Jones (chest) has been limited.
Even though Jonathan Jones has handled Hill well in the past, that could change if he’s not 100 percent. Plus, even if that matchup goes the Patriots’ way, who they put on Waddle is another question. Would it be Myles Bryant, who has struggled with speed matchups in the past? Shaun Wade, who has barely played this season?
Beyond those two, the Patriots would need to turn to a practice squad elevation of either Tae Hayes or Quandre Mosley, one of whom will likely be added to the roster this week just to fill out the depth at the position. Ideally though, whichever player gets the nod won’t have to end up in a featured role, like what happened with De’Vante Bausby against the Bills last year in the playoffs.