DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami wide receiver Mike Wallace let the world know the worst-kept secret about the revamped Dolphins offense: No one has really seen much of it yet.
With that, it’s no wonder why Bill Belichick says Week 1 games are the toughest.
Schemes and rosters change every offseason — every week in a lot of cases — and one of the biggest questions heading into the opening week of the NFL regular season might be how the Dolphins’ offense looks under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.
If the preseason was supposed to be an indicator, well, Wallace insists that’s not the case.
“About 12 percent,” Wallace said when asked how much of the offense the Dolphins showed during the exhibition games. “We have a big playbook, so we didn’t run hardly anything in the preseason. Maybe 12-15 percent.”
If true, then it’s reasonable to assume that the Patriots will be doing a little bit of guessing when they visit the Dolphins on Sunday afternoon in the regular-season-opener for both clubs.
Guesswork is a constant in Week 1 for all teams. But then again, Belichick — the Patriots’ coach going for his 200th regular-season victory — seems to have the Opening Day mystery riddles figured out. Consider: the last time the Patriots lost in Week 1 was 2003, when Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was 15 years old.
“The opening game is probably the hardest game of the year to prepare for because there are just unknowns,” Belichick said. “Teams have held things back that they haven’t shown in preseason. You’re not sure exactly how they’re going to use their personnel, what different wrinkles they have. I know there’s a little bit of that from week to week, but there’s a lot more of it now.”
And Belichick might have come up with a way to get some questions answered this week.
The Patriots signed safety Don Jones on Monday — one day after Jones was waived by the Dolphins, and after he spent the entirety of training camp going up against the new-look offense.
“We’re not really concerned about it,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said.
The Dolphins tied for 23rd in the 32-team NFL last season with 32 offensive touchdowns. The 12 teams that made the playoffs a year ago averaged just over 45 touchdowns from scrimmage.
It’s not a new issue for Miami, either. Over the last four seasons, only four teams have gotten fewer touchdowns from their offenses than the Dolphins, so Lazor was brought in this offseason to change things around.
“We’ve got to do a good job getting points on the board,” Lazor said. “That’s how we can contribute to winning. There are a lot of ways to do it. There are some weeks where we’re going to do it running the ball more. Some weeks we’re going to do it throwing it more.”
Lazor spent last season with the Philadelphia Eagles, working as the quarterbacks coach under head coach and offensive guru Chip Kelly.
The Eagles’ offense had 28 touchdowns in 2012. With the new scheme — one the Dolphins will mimic in many ways — Philadelphia scored 51 last season.
The Dolphins can only hope they see anything close to that level of improvement.
“It could be really good,” Dolphins center Mike Pouncey said. “You’ve seen it last year with the Philadelphia Eagles. They obviously had one of the best offenses in the NFL. We’re hoping to go out and do the same thing with our offense. We’ve got the playmakers to do it. Tannehill’s been playing really good, we fixed the offensive line and just can’t wait to see how it looks on Sunday.”
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