The much anticipated 2009 season is finally a stone's throw away. With last year's historic success still fresh on our minds, so too are expectations. As a life long Dol-Fan I give you my take on the Running Back situation. I may be on the other side of the fence than most, but take it for what it's worth.
My observations throughout the preseason lead me to believe that Ricky Williams should be our featured running back. That's right, I said it. I'm sick and tired of hearing about how old Ricky is and people questioning his desire to play professional football.
Number 34 came into OWA's and camp in the best shape of his life. His absence from football and his discipline for Yoga and Holistic Medicine have left him 5 football years younger than the age on his driver's license.
I will be the first to admit that I have a soft-spot for Ricky. After watching him get fed to the lions, play after play during the 2001-2003 Wannstedt disaster and again during the Nick Saban crisis, it's hard not to. Ricky was banged up, burnt out, emotionally empty, and rightfully so.
Watching the preseason game against the Saints reminded me of what a gifted and talented runner he is. You will NEVER see Ricky spinning around before he hits the line of scrimmage (Ronnie Brown), instead you see a runner with a clear picture of the field. He picks his holes and drives through them like he's a run-away freight train, only to lower his head and punish whoever tries to get in his way.
If Ricky stays healthy and I believe he will, we are going to see him emerge from a complement roll to Ronnie Brown to our featured back. Believe me!
I believe Ronnie has talent and the potential to be a great running back, I really do, but he needs to take off his skirt and run like a man. In my honest evaluation of Ronnie Brown's preseason performance and going back to last year I am left with a sour taste in my mouth.
At times I see flashes of greatness, break-away speed, good hands and a strong arm. Other times, most often it seems, I see a runner who his scared of physical contact. A runner who prefers to spin and dance like a ballerina before he gets to the line. Don't get me wrong there is a time for fancy spin moves, but not all the time. Find your blocker, look for the hole, commit to it and burst through them.
I see Ronnie moving into more of "Wild Cat" threat, above Pat White.
This one is going to be short and sweet. When Patrick Cobbs earned his spot on the Dolphins roster I was elated. I was pulling for him like no one else during training camp. I saw a small in size back with the heart of lion. A back who despite his size played like a 230 lb fullback.
Patrick Cobbs will get tons of playing time this year, and he's going to be responsible for winning football games, both on offense and special teams. There is absolutely nothing he can't do on the football field.
Patrick Cobb's is one of Sparano's favoraite players for good reason. He motivates other teamates to play to the best of their ability on a daily basis. Whether it's leading by example with the effort he puts out, or his attitude in the locker room.
I will enjoy every second watching Cobb's the season. He's a favorite of mine as well.
I'll finish it off with Lex, an absolute beast on a mission to run over as many people that he possibly can. Man was I pulling for this guy, as was most people who watched him in the preseason.
He became somewhat of a folk hero in South Florida. I know it was preseason and I know we saw him primarily against second and third string defenses, but you gotta love what you saw. I love the energy and toughness he brings. I love the size and the power he delivers when he has the ball.
I read an article recently on his training habits. I read that his father use to have German Shepherds chase him, with the belief that if you could "shake" a shepherd, you could shake off anything. I also read how he use to practice his cuts going downhill, with the belief that if you can make people miss going downhill you can do it on the football field. Makes perfect sense to me.
Look to see Lex on 3rd downs, depending on how well he does you may see him a lot more.
Truth be told, we won't know how things will play out until the season opener in Hotlanta. I feel really good about the depth we have in the running back position, but as you know our offensive line is going to have the ultimate say in how well we run the ball.