FOXBORO - Todd Bowles is 1-0 as an NFL head coach. The Miami Dolphins' interim guy took over last week for the expelled Tony Sparano and guided his temporary team to a 30-23 win over Buffalo. An eight-year NFL veteran who played safety for the Redskins and 49ers, Bowles was asked why Miami was able to retain its pride during an 0-7 start and actually go 5-2 since November 6. "On our team, the guys are tough and they have a lot of pride and they're not gonna throw in the towel," said Bowles. "We have some good captains. They've been able to keep everyone together and I think that's helped out."It was mentioned to Bowles that, on the final Sunday of 2010, the same Dolphinsteam on which Bowles was a defensive assistant gave little effort in a 38-7 loss to the Patriots. "We played a heckuva football team and we ran into a buzzsaw and they beat us up pretty good," said Bowles, perhaps forgetting Tom Brady played for about 33 minutes and Deion Branch and Wes Welker didn't play at all. "It wasn't about anybody quitting or anything. They played a heckuva ballgame."Perhaps. But if the Dolphins are expecting Bowles to light their fire with an impassioned speech before Sunday's game at Gillette, they best not hold their breath. Asked if he was hoping his 5-9 team could play the role of spoiler for the Patriots, Bowles answered, "We're not trying to spoil anything we're just trying to get better as a team and try to close out the season on a winning note so we're gonna worry about ourselves right now."Almost every question offered during a fairly brief conference call with local media Tuesday afternoon Bowles met witha contrary response and disinterest. Asked if he thought New England might play themdifferently from the first meeting earlier this season, Bowles answered, "I'm not expecting them to approach us any differently. They had a helluva game the first game. They kinda treat everybody the same. They're a well-oiled machine. They're a good football team."Good game to use as a measuring stick for where your team is, Coach Bowles?"No. Everyone you play in the NFL every week is a measuring stick so this week it just happens to be the Patriots doesn't matter who we're playing this week, we'll just try to play our best."Hoping to be considered for the permanent headjob after the season? "I don't have any expectations really. I'm just trying to get the guys to play hard, play fast and try to come out with wins."Not at all?"I can coach football," he said."There's a lot of good assistants in the league, if the opportunity comes up it's just about getting the team ready to play."Easy there, Rockne.
The Patriots defensive front had a good night against the Panthers, with Dominique Easley and Jerod Mayo standing out.