NFL Network analyst Heath Evans, who played for the Patriots and Dolphins during his NFL career, joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning and talked about Sunday's matchup between New England and Miami.
"Any time you can make Josh McDaniels and [Tom Brady] one-dimensional, you've got a chance," Evans said. "That's the one thing that Miami's been decent at all year, is stopping the run. It's in their sub packages, when their base defense isn't on the field and you've got two linebackers and all your DBs out, they can still manage to stop those shotgun runs and stop the balance of what [Bill Belichick] has got going on in New England -- you do, you have a chance.
"Ryan Tannehill is gifted enough not to give games away. And he's smart enough and he's ahead of the curve just enough probably to be OK vs. the stuff he's going to see on the back end of New England defense, as well as handle their pressure up front.
"They've definitely got a chance. They're much more of a functional, disciplined football team than the Jets. If you're going to be undisciplined and play the Patriots, that's the result you're going to get. The Dolphins are a far better football team to me than the New York Jets are."
Prior to an enjoyable four-year stint (2005-08) playing for Belichick in New England, Evans said he "didn't like" Nick Saban during a brief stop in Miami at the beginning of the 2005 season.
"Very unlike [each other]," Evans said of the two coaches. "I think that's probably the common misconception, is that these two guys are buddies and they're both cut from the same mold. In the discipline side of things and what's expected of you mentally on game day, yeah, they're a lot alike. But personality-wise, how they run their programs, it's completely different, night and day."
Expounded Evans about the differences: "I think consistency in the fact that Bill just naturally knows how to handle every situation. I don't think he every really second-guesses himself. Where with my brief time with Nick, he pretty much would always circle back around and handle the situation right, but it just wasn't handled right from the jump. It's obviously a different world when you're dealing with professional athletes vs. college athletes."
Evans, who also played for the Seahawks (2001-04) and Saints (2009-10), was prescribed Ritalin and was allowed to take the drug while playing in the NFL. He has little sympathy for players who are being suspended for unauthorized use of a similar drug, Adderall.
"Every time I took a drug test in the NFL, I tested positive for my Ritalin. But I had the paperwork, so I was allowed to take it," he said. "These guys, even the [Richard] Shermans of the world -- heck, he went to Stanford, he's supposed to be a smart guy. I don't know how these guys think they're going to get away with it. It's the easiest drug in the world to test for.
"It is what it is. It makes you focused. It makes you locked in. And the second thing it does is it curves your appetite. So, guys that are maybe constantly on that bubble of weighing a little bit more than they want -- anyone that's ever taken the ADD, ADHD pharmaceutical drugs, it does, it curbs your appetite, it really suppresses it so you can really manage and control your waist. It helps a lot of guys out in that realm."