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The Patriots can clinch the AFC East with a win against the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday afternoon.
Greg Likens of WQAM in Miami joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Friday to discuss what the Pats could see from the Dolphins this weekend, including what to expect from Miami’s young quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The Dolphins entered the 2012 season with the franchise’s 32nd different starting quarterback in Tannehill. Is Likens confident that the rookie is the real deal, and what the Dolphins have been looking for?
“I think the key part there is the pieces they’re putting around him,” said Likens. “Everyone down here, just from watching Ryan Tannehill and being around him a little bit and seeing his mentality to go along with his physical skills, he has the promise to be the franchise quarterback for this Dolphins team that they’ve been starving for since Dan Marino.”
The guys moved on to discuss Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, who has been labeled a dirty player by some. What is the perception of Incognito by fans down in Miami? Do they like him just because he’s on their team, and would they hate him if he were playing for someone else?
“You wouldn’t want him on the other team; you hate him in that scenario,” said Likens. “But when he’s on your team you kind of like it and you kind of like the fact that he’s going to be out there and be the tough guy on the field.”
What are some of the things that Incognito does that make him a dirty player?
“It’s essentially that he play well through the whistle and takes cheap shots,” said Likens. “He’s going at guys’ knees when he’s blocking as opposed to just trying to make clean blocks and really just trying to antagonize opposing defenses and specifically the defensive linemen by getting his shots in after the whistle to try to get them to respond and retaliate.”
Finally, the guys discussed what the Dolphins have to do if they hope to be competitive on Sunday?
“The only way I see it being competitive is if the Dolphins can win the turnover battle, and if you take a look at the statistics, I think the Patriots have been phenomenal when it comes to forcing turnovers with 32 takeaways, plus-24 turnover differential. The Dolphins, the last four games, haven’t forced a turnover at all and it’s been a serious issue for them; they’re minus-10 in the turnover differential.”