FOXBOROUGH — Just as Bill Belichick had a plan to beat the Cardinals, the Patriots coach also has one for putting that season-opening victory to bed.
Asked how he planned to turn the page from the good feelings of Sunday night’s win in the desert and turn his focus to the Dolphins, Belichick unveiled his strategy Wednesday morning.
“Pretty easy. All you’ve got to do is turn on our game against Miami last year. Sickening,’’ said Belichick. “Yeah, it doesn’t take long at all. It wasn’t very good. Bad coaching. Bad planning. Just bad period.’’
The Dolphins thumped the Patriots, 20-10, in the final regular-season game of the 2015 season. Though New England already had clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs, the Jan. 3 loss cost the Patriots the top seed in the AFC and as a result they were eventually forced to travel to Denver for the AFC Championship game, which they lost to the Broncos.
The coach noted that the Miami loss still is “etched” in his players’ minds.
The Patriots struggled offensively in the Miami heat, with Tom Brady throwing for a season-low 134 yards and going without a touchdown toss for the only time all season. New England ran the ball on 17 of its first 19 plays but could not find any consistency.
By contrast, Ryan Tannehill threw for 350 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Miami scored 10 fourth-quarter points to break a tie and seal the victory.
The coach wasn’t interested in second-guessing himself about the team’s approach to that game.
“Right now we’re focused on playing them this week. We’re really past . We’re on to 2016,’’ he said.
Will he have a new plan for Sunday?
“We approach every game differently,’’ he said.
When Belichick was asked what improvements he’s seen in Tannehill since the quarterback entered the league, he answered with a question himself.
“Since he killed us last year?” said Belichick.
The coach then had high praise for the fifth-year veteran.
“He’s a good quarterback. He’s smart. He handles the offense well. He certainly takes control of things at the line of scrimmage as we’ve seen quarterbacks do in coach [Adam] Gase’s offenses,’’ said Belichick. “He’s a good decision-maker. He’s athletic. Throws the ball well and can certainly make plays outside the pocket.
Jimmy Garoppolo had his own way of putting the euphoria of his first win in the rearview mirror — a few texts from his older brothers.
“Just kind of my family as a whole,’’ he said. “Growing up with two older brothers, especially, they’ll let you know real quick what you did wrong and what you can improve on. Just kind of the upbringing, I guess. That really helps out.’’
The quarterback added that the brothers also were “supportive . . . they’re the best.’’
Garroppolo has clearly turned his attention to the Dolphins and how to attack their stout defense.
“Yeah, that front seven, they’re very talented,’’ he said. “As good of a front as we’ll see — we have to do a good job handling them and we’ll go from there.’’
Getting the ball out quickly, as he did against Arizona, will be the key.
“You don’t want to hold it back there, especially against these guys,’’ Garoppolo said. “They get off the ball fast and everything, so the more you hold it, the more trouble we’ll be in.’’
Dont’a Hightower was the lone absence from practice — a shorts-and-shells session held at midday with the Bruce Springsteen sound check providing a backdrop soundtrack.
The linebacker and defensive play-caller suffered a knee injury early against the Cardinals but missed only a three-play series before returning to action.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring), left tackle Nate Solder (hamstring), and guard Jonathan Cooper (foot) all of whom didn’t make the trip to Arizona, were on hand.
Gronkowski didn’t take part in the first receiving drill. He held a pad while teammates caught balls and ran through the line getting whacked by the pads.
Gronkowski, Solder, and Cooper were listed on the injury report as limited.
Cornerback Malcolm Butler (ankle) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (knee) were new additions to the report. They were also limited, as was Trey Flowers (shoulder), Shea McClellin (shoulder), and Shaq Mason (hand).
Wide receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder) was a full participant.
Practice squad addition
The Patriots signed former Alabama receiver DeAndrew White to the practice squad and he was at the workout wearing No. 84. White was an undrafted rookie who originally signed with the 49ers in 2015. The 6-foot, 192-pounder caught two passes for 18 yards in four games last season. He was released earlier this month. He takes the place of defensive back Michael Hilton, who was released. White is the third receiver on the practice squad (Devin Lucien and Devin Street). White caught 94 passes for 1,294 yards and 12 TDs in four years in Tuscaloosa . . . Stephen Gostkowski was named AFC special teams player of the week for the fourth time in his career. He had three field goals, including the game-winner, against the Cardinals . . . Defensive backs Brandon King, Vinnie Sunseri, and Jordan Richards, and running back D.J. Foster wore black jerseys as the practice players of the week. Only Richards and King played against the Cardinals . . . Garoppolo and receiver Danny Amendola were asked if they had any conversations with Tom Brady after the Arizona win and both answered “no.’’ . . . With The Boss in town, Belichick acknowledged he’s “been to a few wild Springsteen concerts.’’ . . . Hogan, a New Jersey native, was asked if he’d be sticking around for the show. “I want to go but I think I’m going to focus on my preparation, watch a little more film,’’ he said with a smile. “Maybe I’ll throw on some Bruce while I’m watching film.’’