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Foster headed for MRI Monday; RB situation up on air; DL wasn't team strength this game;

BOSTON -- Arian Foster will have an MRI on his injured groin this morning to give the Dolphins a clearer picture of the player's injury but the team is concerned their starting running back will miss the home opener against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Foster lasted only 10 plays before going out of Sunday's loss to New England

If Foster must miss time as believed the Dolphins will find themselves in a curious situation ... namely, who is their backup running back?

The obvious answer would be Jay Ajayi, who was the starting running back at the start of training camp before he lost the job to Foster. But it could be complicated than that.

Ajayi lost a fumble that might have cost the Dolphins dearly during their 31-24 loss to the New England Patriots.

"Jay, that was a crticial turnover there," Gase said. "I mean, we just can't have that. We have to do a better job of ball security, but, for the most part, protection was good."

Actually, Foster also had a fumble that was ruled irrelevant because he was down by contact. But the truth is all Miami backs have been coached how to carry the football and Ajayi, who had trouble holding on to the football in the preseason finale, definitely didn't use that coaching on his fumble.

"Just have to hold on to the ball, just a mistake," Ajayi said tersely.

And what about getting more carries this game, and perhaps in the future?

"It is the next man up mentality," Ajayi said. "Whoever is on the field is going to play. You just have to play to the best of your ability."

That's insight right there.

Me?

I like what Kenyan Drake brought to the offense when he got his chance. Ajayi rushed five times for 14 yards -- a 2.8 yards per run average. Drake carried only twice but gained 12 yards, including a nifty seven-yard TD run.

Foster, by the way, finished this game with nine yards on three carries. He has 47 yards on 16 carries the first two games, a 2.9 yard per carry average.

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The Dolphins believe they have a very good front seven with the defensive line representing perhaps the best unit on the entire team.

Except that Sunday the defensive line was not the strength of the team. It was, indeed, somewhat absent from the game early on and not a big factor thereafter.

Consider that Cameron Wake, playing part time on passing downs, did not have a tackle. Zero. I don't remember the last time that happened.

Mario Williams, who was good against Seattle a week ago, was credited with only one tackle against the Patriots.

That's a ton of salary and salary cap space for one tackle, folks.

 Adrian Branch had one assist. Not a solo. An assist. He also had trouble setting the edge -- including on that sweep in which New England running back LaGarrette Blount got outside and hurdled Byron Maxwell 26 yards downfield.

Ndamukong Suh had four solos and eight assists for 12 total tackles. He also had a tackle for loss. The problem with him? He's human. He cannot play 100 percent of the downs. So when he was out, the Patriots got that 9-yard TD run from Blount right up the gut against the Miami defense.

Jason Jones, by the way, was active enough. He had a sack among his three tackles.

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Ryan Tannehill was sacked zero times on Sunday. Zero.

"The guys were giving me time to get through my reads," Tannehill said.

That's better than the five sacks the Miami quarterback endured a week earlier against Seattle. The Dolphins protected better up front but the running game was not a factor in the game.

That's what happens when the team falls behind 31-3.

(I cannot believe the Dolphins were down 31-3. Terrible.)

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DeVante Parker made his 2016 debut and it was very good. He caught eight passes for 106 yards and coach Adam Gase suggested he'd like to see bigger days ahead.

"For a guy that was playing on one leg, I mean, I will love it when he's really healthy," Gase said. "We'll see what we can do. I just think those three guys ... we had a little speed bump there early, we just got to get them going earlier. You know, make those plays in the first two quarters."

That failure to start fast is going to be a thing for the Dolphins going forward until they do it.

Coaches have gone with the no-huddle against Seattle. And that didn't work.

On Sunday the Dolphins went away from the no-huddle, in part to protect the defense. And that didn't work.

When the Dolphins fell behind, however, the protection of the defense went out the window and the no-huddle came back. And then the offense hit a stride.

"Speed tempo and it really helped," center Anthony Steen said. "We got in a rhythm and moved the ball. I really don't know the reason [for the slow start]. It may be one of those things where we need to train harder or come out and practice faster. I don't know."

Nobody knows. 

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I like when players refuse to be denied. Michael Thomas showed that in the fourth quarter when he blitzed and had a free shot at Jacoby Brissett For a sack.

Thomas hit Brissett and bounced off.

Opportunity missed.

But a play or two later, Thomas came on another blitz and this time he took the bigger quarterback to the ground and caused a fumble.

Yeah, I like determination. The Dolphins need more of that.

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Check back here later this morning for a breakdown of the Dolphins playtime percentages and snaps.

Meanwhile, please read my column on how this game separated the Dolphins from being a serious playoff contender.

The playtime percentages are out. Some are shocking such as Cameron Wake played a total of 16 plays this game.

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