As most of you know by now, the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins are set to face off in the 2020 season opener. In terms of recent organizational trajectories, these two teams could not be more different. However, the theme of “new eras” lends some common ground.
When you think about what Miami has done this offseason, it’s almost a complete flip from last year. They signed Byron Jones, Elandon Roberts, and Kyle Van Noy. They continued the remodel by signing Jordan Howard, Ted Karras, and Shaq Lawson . Then came the big move in the draft, drafting a potential franchise quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa. Although some of these moves may seem minor, this roster looks completely different from what it did a year ago.
The same could be said for the doing the Patriots. Tom Brady is now no longer the signal-caller after two decades at the helm. Instead, New England will probably be relying on Jarrett Stidham to carry the load. When you take a look at what they did in the offseason, much of the remodeling came via the draft.
New England focused heavily on defense in this draft. From taking Kyle Duggar with their first pick, to selecting Anfernee Jennings and Josh Uche, the Patriots retooled their roster. After all, they had to make up for some of the departures from the team, especially at the linebacker position.
For Brian Flores, this marks a new era for him as well. In comparison to last year, this roster has his fingerprints all over it. He is now beginning to build a roster that he sees fit. With a New England feel to the linebacking group in particular, Flores is getting players that he is comfortable with. Now, he can really begin to put his stamp on this team.
In that sense, the Miami Dolphins are entering a new era. Of course, Tua Tagovailoa is a big part of this equation as well. Time will tell if he will start this year, but at the very least, this marks the beginning of having a franchise quarterback for the first time in quite a while.
For New England, head coach Bill Belichick is entering a new era in the sense that he has to prove he can win without Tom Brady. He led New England to 11-5 record in 2008 after Tom Brady went down with a season-ending injury in the opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. He also managed to go 3-1 when Tom Brady missed the first four games of the 2016 season to serve the infamous Deflategate suspension. However, this will undoubtedly be his toughest test yet. For the first time in two decades, he will no longer have the greatest quarterback in NFL history at the helm.
Change is upon us, and for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, that may be evident in week one. Assuming the season starts on time, both teams will have a lot to prove at the beginning of September. With New England historically struggling in Miami, this will definitely be a closer game than many think.