Patriots-Dolphins matchup of the day: Wednesday

Posted Sept. 29, 2010 @ 3:57 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Monday night's game between the Patriots and Dolphins:

Patriots' secondary vs. Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall

It's hard to overstate how dismal the Pats' secondary has been through three games, mainly because it's not something we've seen in the Belichick era. And Marshall could be the best receiver they have faced.

Coming off 10 catches and 166 yards receiving against the Jets' defense and CB Antonio Cromartie, Marshall is likely licking his chops for the Pats' secondary. Based on performance thus far, rookie CB Devin McCourty likely will get a shot at covering Marshall. McCourty is physical and showed enough speed to stick with Bills WR Lee Evans in Week Three. But he also was burned on a jump ball by Jets TE Dustin Keller and a slant by Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery the week before.

There is also the option to put CB Darius Butler, who lost his starting job in Week Three, back on the field to cover Marshall. Butler had an awful game against the Jets, but he is the Pats' most experienced corner.

In addition to simply sticking with Marshall, the Patriots' secondary needs to be sure to tackle him in the open field. They struggled to do that against the Bills, and the Dolphins will do their best to get their star the ball in space.