Patriots vs. Dolphins: Analyzing the Week 8 Match-Up

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Oct 18, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Jarvis Landry, Wide Receiver

Back before Giants superhuman Odell Beckham Jr. was on the cover of Madden and hanging out with David Beckham, he was honing his one-handed grab skills with a 6’0’’ pal named Jarvis Landry at LSU.

No, really: Jarvis Landry’s mentioned more than once that Beckham learned the fine points of Randy Moss-esque one-handers from him, and OBJ has never said otherwise.

And while Landry doesn’t quite have the size or bonkers stat line to put him in the same company as his college bro, the way Miami uses him is a dead ringer for New England’s most productive receiver: Julian Edelman.

Punt returns.  Slot receiver.  X receiver.  Designed runs.  End-arounds.  Making short completions and giving Landry the chance to break a defensive back’s ankles and rack up yards after the catch.  

For as wretched as the Miami offense has looked at times this season, Jarvis Landry is going to be selling a whole lot of jerseys if he keeps making defenders like Brian Cushing of the Texans look like they’re running through mud like he did last week.  Seriously, watch this.  And, he’s….gone.

In contrast to the twin-towers receiver combo that the Jets packed last week, Jarvis Landry presents a different type of conundrum.  He could literally line up anywhere or do anything all game long.

Who Can Stop Him?

The Patriots seem to be countering an opponent’s top receiving threat differently now than they might have at the beginning of the year.  Consider the difference between how they defended Antonio Brown in Week 1 with how they approached Jets receiver (it’s still odd to consider him a Jet) Brandon Marshall:

Antonio Brown:  Malcolm Butler, single coverage, pretty much all night.

Brandon Marshall:  Logan Ryan in man-to-man coverage, with safety Devin McCourty providing home-run insurance by backing Ryan up.

That tag-team of Ryan and McCourty limited Brandon Marshall to 67 receiving yards last weekend after Marshall had racked up over 100 receiving yards in each of his previous four games.

New England seems to be both reacting to losing cornerback Tarell Brown and realizing that they’ve got two solid young cornerbacks, but expecting either of them to shut down a receiver by themselves isn’t going to happen.  Limit?  Sure.  Eliminate, like Darrelle Revis or Ty Law used to?  Not happening with Ryan and Butler.  At least not yet.

Jarvis Landry is a totally different type of receiver than Brandon Marshall, sure, but if New England doesn’t want this one turning into a shootout, they can’t have Landry YAC-ing all over the place.

Get it?  YAC-ing, like throwing up?  But with YAC?  Yards after catch?  Get it?

Alright, moving on…

Next: Next Up: Outgunning the First-Rounder