Friday, June 19, 2009

Running Into Training Camp

To continue the training camp preview on the offensive side of the ball, I am heading into the running back territory today. There isn't a lot of competition at this point at this spot (thought there should be quite a bit in 2010).

Ronnie Brown, #23.
Ronnie Brown is no doubt the closest thing we have to a star offensive player. He is definitely the highest drafted skill player on the team, and his production as well as his skill set make him a lock as a starting running back on 90% of the teams in the NFL. One thing we didn't get to see much of in 2008 is how Ronnie can downright run over defenders. That looks to change in 2009.

Ricky Williams, #34.
Ricky's speed in getting to the edge has always been his strength and it can be a great thing to combine with Ronnie Brown's power running. It's one of the main reasons the Wild-Cat was so effective. Ricky says he wants to play two more years, but in 2009 I expect his role to decrease, and if they bring him back for 2010, he will likely be the third running back. His days are numbered but we can still expect big plays from him, if not big carries.

Patrick Cobbs, # 38.
Cobbs is a guy who may not get the carries, but his use as a utility guy buys him a spot on the roster. He can return kicks and punts, cover on special teams, block on running plays, and find space on passing plays. His 5'8" stature make him the shortest guy on the team in 2007. As long as Chris Williams doesn't suddenly become a great tackler and blocker, I don't think Cobbs has anything to worry about. He's one of the few 'leftovers' that the Trifecta loves. His NFL story is fantastic if you're a Dolfan - signed as an undrafted free agent in 2006 by the Patriots, he performed so well in the pre-season that New England was able to trade him to Pittsburgh for a draft pick. He was inactive for week 1 because he didn't know the Steelers playbook yet. The day after the game they waived him and tried to sign him to the practice squad. He refused to sign with them, and signed onto Miami's practice squad instead after he cleared waivers. He then worked his way up to the active roster and was a big part of the offense in 2008.
He will probably play his entire career in Miami.

Lousaka Polite, #36.
I call this guy Mr. Automatic after he miraculously converted short yardage on 3rd and 4th downs again and again in 2008. He runs downhill like a bowling ball and defenses need to wrap up his legs to stop him - a near impossible feat at the line of scrimmage. His blocking has been questioned by some though, and I'm not sure the Dolphins want to weigh one strength against one weakness. If his blocking is improved, he should be a lock. They did just give him a new contract, so maybe they already know the answer.

Lex Hilliard, # 26.
Lex spent all of 2008 on the practice squad, and of the two running backs we drafted last year, I had highest hopes for Jalen Parmele who got poached by Baltimore and apparently is the #2 guy there at the moment. Not much to say about Hilliard other than he had an entire year with the Dolphins already and has apprently mastered the playbook. You'd have to expect him to be practice squad again unless someone gets injured then he would be the first to be called up.

Anthony Kimble, #45.
Kimble has yet to impress at the media-attended practices, but his combination of fresh legs and athleticism and work-horse mentality may pay-off in a practice-squad bid. He also is a converted wide-receiver and could be considered a dangerous pass-target coming out of the backfield.

Chris Brown, # 20.
The 'other' fullback, competing with Polite. He's more of an H-back type, presenting a good pass target out of the backfield, but is not known for running over people or for putting people on their backs in the blocking game. He played tight-end in college. Honestly, for him to make the roster, he's going to have to blow some people up on blocks.

Do you think there will be any surprises here or will we stick with the same four running backs from 2008?


  1. Same 4, no doubt about it. I happen to have a Ronnie, Ricky and Cobbs jersey. Always been my favorite unit for the Dolphins, and some years the only unit worth watching

    I couldn't beleive in the playoff game we went for it on 4 and 1 or something and didn't run it with Polite. Needless to say we didn't convert. Also with the contract they just gave Polite the chances of Brown unseating him are doubtful, unless like you said he puts some people on their backside. However id he did than both our starting FB and RB's names would be Brown to go along with Allen and Allen (one of your goals I know of)

  2. The Knight who says Ni!June 19, 2009 at 12:53 PM

    Good review. Same 4 from 2008.

  3. it is essentially my goal to be able to have only five or so surnames on the team.  That way I can buy a Brown jersey, and just change the numbers around as I feel that week.  I would need a lot fewer numbers (19 in fact) than surnames (I believe last year there were 52 individual names).

    I'm joking of course.  The real reason is that the media can't currently tell the difference between Andrew Gardner and Nate Garner, what would they do if they actually had more than one player with the same name?  I just want to see what would happen.  We immediately shortened Pennington to Penne when we signed him, lol, so I know I'm not the only one.

  4. Wow, I didn't realize that Cobbs was so short.  He plays much "bigger" I think unless one of the Rookies really shows his stuff we'll see the same backs as last year.  Personally I hope Hilliard stands out in camp.  Only because I like is name. LEX

  5. Tin, did you photoshop that pic of Ronnie? Tagliabue's head looks much bigger than I remember.

  6. The Knight who says Ni!June 19, 2009 at 1:29 PM


    I noticed the goofy clown head in the Ronnie picture but didn't think anything of it for whatever reason.  :-E

  7. It's not Tagliabue under's the former Dolphin Head Coach who shall not be named.

  8. The Knight who says Ni!June 19, 2009 at 1:40 PM

    Napolean?  ;)

  9. I thought it best to cover his face.  It's really hard to keep Jack's head perfectly round...

  10. Oh, well the coach who shall not be named actually had a head that size!!  I can see why it's hard to keep Jack's head over it. LOL

  11. What do you think of my new avatar? ;)   I think Herdfan might object.

  12. The Knight who says Ni!June 19, 2009 at 2:04 PM

    You're hot Rockphin!  :-P

  13. i think it might be a dolphin tranny...

  14. Definately NOT a tranny, and Knight, it's not me just a picture of a hot chick I liked.  I'm a dude man!

  15. Although I think she could be a tight end.

  16. The Knight who says Ni!June 19, 2009 at 3:15 PM

    LMFAO! Just Joking!  :-D

  17. No surprises,the redcoats get-over on even the smartest of organizations!! Imagine IF they had got PC back through waivers,(that of been the ultimate kiiickindanuttts)!! Who'd they get w'that Pitt pk??

  18. I've loved Cobbs since I saw him go for about an 80 yd td in his first preseason with New England.  So obviously I was ecstatic when we picked him up.

    Ronnie is going to flat out be the bomb this yr, his increased strength, our new oline, and another yr removed from his knee injury should elevate him to superstar status.

    Ricky (as apposed to Rickey or Rickie that some posters, for some reason, like to write) will be the same ole Ricky.  He adds great depth to the position, can spell Ronnie, and just makes plays.

    Do we really have a position that lacks depth?  This regimine seems to bring in competition everywhere.  We need corners they sign one and draft 2, we need wrs they draft 2 and bring in undrafted FAs, we need OLBs they bring in Wake and JT.  No longer will we see the days when we need a qb and draft a special teams player with our first pick.

    The biggest thing the trio brings to us may be tougher stronger players.  Murphy would surely be a goner this yr, if any other front office we've ever had was still in charge, but these guys have re-sculpted his body.  I've never heard of any other team doing this, my hats off to the Tuna boys.

  19. I'm on a Boat!!June 19, 2009 at 10:14 PM

    Lex Hilliard's been overlooked by most.  He's a rock solid, Big running back... he's versatile enough to play either running back or full back and so far this year looks pretty impressive (most of the media has said he's looked sharp so far).  This kid is incredibly intelligent as well... he Aced the Wunderlich test (highest score possible) and apparently not only has mastered the playbook for the running back position, but also for the full backs, the O line, and the TE's...   If he gets a shot... I think we'll all be impressed.

  20. Rockphin:
    If I could have found a photo of a hot guy in a skimpy dolphin thong, I would have it as MY avatar.  Sadly, I can't seem to find any photos of hot guys who ARE Dolphin fans.  And it makes me wonder, are these mutually exclusive traits?  But I am enjoying the search.

  21. The Knight who says Ni!June 20, 2009 at 7:34 AM

    Steve, the trifecta's way of building a team is an awesome thing to watch. From their approach to drafting bigger players, the impressive off-season conditioning program that is one of the toughest in the league if not the toughest, the re-sculpting of bodies as you pointed out and coaching guys up.

    Look at Dotson, he was about 290 when they drafted him. They had him lose 20 lbs. to then build him back up the right way. He's now 290 the right way. Murphy was about 315 and they dropped him under 300 to do the same thing. I heard even Henne redefined his body. Eric Green said he's never been in an off-season conditioning program like this and that he threw up every day for about a week.

    Now the rookies are going to work out for 5 weeks and get a taste of the conditioning program so they're up to speed with the veterans. I'm sure the first few weeks which has already begun will be brutal for these guys but by training camp it will pay off.

    We may not be the most talented team in the league, but the most talented team doesn't always win. The best prepared team does and a big part of that is conditioning so they can win the battle of attrition.

    The Dolphins were always known for fading late in the year. Yet the first year Parcells takes over as the czar of Dolphins football, we go 9-1 down the stretch including winning our last 5 in a row. When is the last time that happened?

    We're in good hands.

  22. ...Ni ...excellent ...I sometimes think you wear rose colored lenses when it comes to the fins ...but not on this.

  23. ...keep in mind that PW will almost certainly be on the field as a scatback ...I think that makes the 4th RB slot questionable and Cobbs fodder for a trade ...I like Cobbs as much as anyone here but the trifecta made a huge committment to PW ...they have to squeeze somewhere to get him on the field and this seems a natural.

  24. The Knight who says Ni!June 21, 2009 at 1:17 PM

    lemmus, I'm an optimist and a realist. I don't dwell on the negative, it's not my personality. It also promotes failure. I always look for the positive in a situation. I find life to be better that way. I had my run in with being pissed off years ago. It's not a good way to be.  8-)

  25. The Knight who says Ni!June 21, 2009 at 1:19 PM

    No way man, Cobbs is a lock. He's an excellent special teams player, I think he lead the team in tackles with 16 or something, he can do everything they ask him to do at the RB position, he just doesn't have elite talent. He's a very valuable player. He's a better version of Travis Minor.

  26. The Knight who says Ni!June 21, 2009 at 1:23 PM

    Good stuff boat! Hilliard is a sleeper. His best way on the 53 man roster is special teams and either blocking or pass catching. He has to be good at one of those RB skills. His running ability is probably average at best but he is big and physical. I thought he made some nice plays in the preseason last year though it was against 3rd teams.

    I heard he has the playbook down so he can just play rather than think and he's looked faster. We'll see.

  27. ...much as I appreciate and value your positive outlook on last season's stawarts, Ni ...the simple fact is that its a business and a numbers game ...there is only so much cap space and so many bodies that can be on the roster come September.

    ...I think there are probably not more than 15 real locks on this team at the moment ...and I don't think a single one of the current running backs is among them ...certainly not last season's #3 RB ...does not mean that all four won't make the roster in the end, just that the trifecta is very open to finding bigger, younger, cheaper players that can compete and win and its a long way to the final cut 

    ...contract issues made some players "locks" last season when play wise they should have been long gone, Wilford a prime example imnsho ...we have the same problem this year with a slightly different cast. when you enumerate the solid contributions Cobbs made last season and thus claim "lock" status for him this season, I'll smile and watch and wait because the trifecta is going to shake the tree out of training camp and it has a very serious numbers problem ...some of last season's stalwarts are not going to make this season's roster ...I expect that to be in the 20-25% range when all is said and done ...and thus I think Cobbs is in play, one way or the other. at will, the asbestos underwear are new and need breaking in.

  28. ...the problem is not how good Cobbs is but how many RBs the team will carry ...4 was the answer last year ...I think that the addition of PW as a scatback may make room for only 2 RBs and 1 FB plus PW that case, Cobb's is on the short end of a trade.

    ...its of course possible, maybe even likely, that they'll make room elsewhere on the roster, maybe short a WR or OL but I hope not ...and they could short a TE but Henning/Penne really like throwing to them so maybe not.

    ...I keep coming back to the RB as where they cut a pure RB slot and use a scatback instead fits their draft and offense ...and the other consideration is that should we see a season ending injury on a RB, there are always spares available on short notice that can fill the spot ...its not what I consider a skill position.

  29. The Knight who says Ni!June 22, 2009 at 6:25 AM

    Okay when the roster is set at 53, Cobbs will be on it.  :-D

  30. The Knight who says Ni!June 22, 2009 at 7:33 AM

    I don't think Pat White is going to be looked at as a scatback as far as the roster is goes. He's the 3rd QB. That will be his spot even if he does other things.

  31. London,Armstrong,Hartline among NUMEROUS others @ NUMEROUS positions get(cut consideration)LOOONNNNGGG b/4 Cobbs,or Bess(who aren't going anywhere,IMHO!!
    Cobbs can do EVERYTHING,and Bess is the next WWelker that ALL cried-over when he was traded!!
    I don't recall who was suggesting that Bess wouldn't make the team,but someones attempting to pull a rabbit outta their butt with these(IMPOSSIBILITIES,barring the I word)..
    I could see DMartin getting traded(IF he were healthy),or getting cut,IF he remains sidelined..  GO FINS!!