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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The fallout from Ricky's suspension

The Dolphins should be thankful the NFL announced Ricky Williams' suspension when it did -- four days before the draft -- because it allows the team to make alternate plans in the coming days.

Simply, the Dolphins now need to draft a running back at some point during the selection process Saturday and Sunday. I'm sure you're thinking the team already did that last year when it took Ronnie Brown.

But Nick Saban has viewed the RB position as one requiring TWO outstanding players, rather than just one, throughout his career.

Saban believes you wear down opponents with fresh multiple backs and that has proven out at LSU and last year with Miami. If you look at what Pittsburgh did last year with Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker and what Kansas City was able to do with Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson, its clear that a two-pronged RB attack is a great weapon.

More of a problem is that, under new offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, the Dolphins intended to run the ball more than last year. Last year the Dolphins passed the ball approximately 100 times more than they ran but they were expected to even that out more this year.

Now that plan to bring balance to the Miami offense may have to be adjusted.

The Dolphins have lost one of the best offensive players -- perhaps their best offensive player -- and now they have to replace him.

Saban suggested during the NFL annual meetings in March and again last week that Sammy Morris could fill that job. And I've got land in the Everglades I'd like to sell you.

Morris is a good special teams player and a serviceable third down back when pressed, but look at his 2004 production in case you think he can be THE guy behind THE guy.

Morris gained 523 yards in a season filled with nagging ankle and rib injuries. He missed eight starts and three games overall.

The Dolphins also have Travis Minor, but the truth is Minor failed to impress when he was given the opportunity in 2004 and last year was limited to only five carries for 17 yards.

Not to diminish these guys, but they are fine role players and special teamers, not second-tier backs in an offense that uses two backs extensively.

So the Dolphins must add RB to their list of draft-day needs because this Williams suspension not only means he's gone for a year, but given Williams' unpredictable mindset, could mean he's gone permanently.

So who will be available when Miami picks, especially in the later rounds?

The name that glows in neon is Joseph Addai, who Saban coached at LSU and who has outstanding 4.4 speed. Addai has size and speed but for some reason isn't considered a first-round pick. People say he runs upright but he looked pretty good to me as he plowed through the University of Miami defense in the Peach Bowl.

And isn't running upright also what they said about Deuce McAllister before he became a fine NFL running back?

Remember that good running backs can be had in almost any round -- the Denver Broncos have proven that for years. So I see no great need to get a RB in the first round.

But sometime in the draft? Absolutely.


Blogger Chris said...

This means that the Dolphins must now give serious consideration to drafting De Angelo Williams, LenDale White, or Laurence Maroney. This is a unique year in that three strong RB talents will available to the Dolphins at #16. There is a fall off after these three players.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous swine said...

so let's review...we have needs at DT, OL, WR, LB, DB, perhaps QB (?), and now RB, and have only 6 draft picks, with 3 of them being in the 7th round... The Dolphins simply do not have enough picks in high enough rounds to be able to come out of this draft feeling like they've plugged in most of their holes.

I think what the Ricky suspension does is it forces Saban to trade down from the 16th spot to acquire more draft picks in the 2nd or 3rd rounds if possible. We simply need to do that in order to improve this team in a significant way.

This Ricky thing really sucks.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Armando Salguero said...

Swine, your review is the reason I said in my initial post leading to my draft coverage that the Dolphins are not truly a Super Bowl caliber team yet. Perhaps now the point hits home for everyone. As for QB, they don't have a need there, but it never hurts.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous RW said...

I want to thank Nick Saban and all Dolphins fans for their support.

9:21 PM  
Blogger The Dude said...

It would be phenominal to be able to get Joseph Addai to replace Ricky. But he won't last to the 3rd round. Besides that, doesn't this team have more pressing needs to address with their 16th, 82nd & 113th overall picks? If they get a RB in this draft, it's going to be in the 7th round.

But they NEED to get somebody. Not only does Saban love to run a two back set, Ronnie Brown has never carried a full load by himself.

Options? Maybe Jerious Underwood from Miss. St? Mike Bell from Arizona? Andre Hall from So. Fla?

9:47 PM  
Blogger ByrdDogX said...

I have been a Dolphins fan all my life. I'm disappointed in the ruling, but I think the Dolphins can overcome it. I live in Memphis and I've seen DeAnglo Williams play for 4 years. He may be the greatest back that no one has heard of and Miami would benefit greatly by picking him @ 16. We do need help at DB, but depth at WR and RB are huge concerns right now. I have to agree with Swin - they may need to trade down and grab a pick or two in the second/third rounds.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So does this mean the Fins may draft a RB in the first round?

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This whole situation is a little sketchy. It seems like whatever he tested positive for was inadvertent. I bet it has to do with his holistic medicine or yoga training. Not very corrupt endeavors. It's not like he was at a club taking E. I think the league is just making an example of him. I'm a Dolphins fan in NY. The draft is at Radio City Music Hall this weekend. I'm planning on being out there with a picket to let the NFL know what I think about the situation. They are treating Ricky unfairly and he deserves better!!!

I guess it's worth putting the word out there - Dolphins FANS! Let the NFL and the media know how unhappy you are with this!!! Put your money where your mouth is and you can affect this situation!

If there are any Dolphins fans in NYC - Show up outside Radio City to let the NFL know this is extreme and unfair!!!

11:04 PM  
Blogger John Dolfan said...


Is there any word (definitive or otherwise) as to what exactly Ricky supposedly ingested? What, if anything, did he admit to?

I feel bad for him because it seemed as though he was genuine about turning his life around, for whatever his reasons! The league has got to what its got to do I guess.

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An open post to Ricky Williams:

Thank you.

Thank you for dealing with the insanity that is the NFL drug testing policy with the class and dignity you never failed to display in all endeavors.

I wish you the very best.

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Swine said...

It's true Armando, we are not a Super Bowl caliber team, and we have too many holes to fill, and not enough draft picks with which to fill them. If the Dolphins are to make a serious run at a title this year, the coaches are going to have to find a way to get some fantastic play from some mediocre talent (at at least some positions). I'm not saying they can't do it, but it is going to be a big challenge, and we Dolphins fans need to keep our expectations a bit realistic.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Primetime13 said...

Well, losing Ricky is definitely a setback. With the acquisition of DC and Ricky coming back for a full season, I had Miami pegged for a playoff run. This puts a wrench into that forecast for sure.

I really have concerns that Ronnie B will not be able to carry the full load. Looking back Cadillac may have been the better choice. He will be a stud this year for TB and will actually carry them through the season to the playoffs.

Anyhow, this really puts us in a position where we'll have to trade our top pick. Luckily this years draft is deep with DB's & LB's and if we can somehow swing a trade for a late 1st and 2nd. We can use picks in rounds 1,2,3,4 on LB, DB, WR, RB.

1. Many Lawson, Demeco Ryans
2. Ko Simpson, Darnell Bing
3. Devin Aromashodu, Derek hagan
4. Brian Calhoun (doubtful he’ll last till 4th), Leon Washington, Gerald Riggs Jr

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miamitoby said...
I think the way the Ricky thing worked out sucks for us. It really weakens an area of the team that was a strength before the suspension.

That said, Ricky brought this on himself. Even though THIS PARTICULAR issue likely wasn't from anything illegal and was likely related to some herbal remedy that he used as part of his yoga regimen, the fact remains that he would never be in this predicament if he hadn't used such poor judgement in the past with all the pot.

I feel bad for us, Dolphin fans and players, but much less so for Ricky. He made his bed, and as much as I would like him to not have to, he must sleep in it too.

Time to pick up and move forward like all teams do and see if we can address this in the draft. I think trading down might be a smart thing to do. I also think that taking the best available LB, OL, or WR in the 1st would also be a good move.

There might be some solid backs still around in the third when we pick. Addai was would be a nice addition but I think he'll go early to mid 2nd. Maybe guys like Leon Washington(FSU), Jerome Harrison(Wa St.), Jerious Norwood(Miss St and 4.37 speed), Andre Hall(S.Fl) or Gerald Riggs(Tenn) might fill the bill for a number 2 guy. Either way, Ronnie better train hard in the offseason and be ready for the training wheels to come off in September.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Let me get this straight the NFL is suspending Ricky Williams for taking a holistic stimulant which is not a banned substance as far as we know. Further they ADMIT he DID NOT take marijuana for which he was banned previously.
I know the man is not perfect but come on..he did everything the Dolphins asked of him and he was tested at least 10 times a month.
So the real question is why are they banning him? I am telling you folks..they are punishing him for just being Ricky.

Kevin Kemp
Nassau, Bahamas

12:56 AM  
Blogger VegasDolfan said...

If Ricky really tested positive for an "upper" as Leigh Steinberg hinted, then shame on RW. If it was an herbal supplement of a non-performance enhancing variety, then shame on the NFL. If they tested for pot in the NBA, they'd have a hard time fielding enough players on each time to have a starting 5 each night.

It would be nice to see a trade down from 16 to say 24 or 25 & pick up a 2nd round choice - that way we could address CB/S (Donte Whitmer?) and a RB maybe in round 2 (Joseph Addai?) - and fill in the rest later.

My biggest hope is that some of LAST YEAR'S pickups (Matt Roth, Anthony Alabi, Manny Wright, Kevin Vickerson, & Fred Gibson) step up and become bonafide contributors in their 2nd year - so that our lack of draft picks this year won't matter.

1:54 AM  
Blogger Rosman1 said...

I agree with some of the comments, the Dolphins simply have to many holes to fill, and not enough draft picks this year. I'm sure Saban will make every attempt to trade down and a QB is truly out of the question in this draft, with the exception of 7th Rd. I would like to see Leon Washington (FSU) in the 3rd Rd. He is an excellent runningback and great special teamer, he would be a perfect compliment to Ronnie Brown.
If still positioned at No. 16, I believe they go with LB/CB.

4:25 AM  
Blogger CubanCulebra said...

You know what sucks about being a die-hard fan? Sometimes you feel like you wanna die, hard. What a miserable day. I abhor loving this team the way I do. It is not normal to be affected by such a thing in this way. And I was so looking forward to the draft. I don't even want to look now, just sleep, and forget I am my father's son.

4:50 AM  
Anonymous Wanying said...

The Dolphins have bigger needs in the secondary and outside linebacker and offensive line than at running back! Morris and Minor are serviceable back ups, and they still have unproven Kay-Jay Harris who was highly touted and wont cost us a draft pick.

Picking up a LenDale White would be a nice luxury for a team that is deep enough to afford it, but let's face it, we need to protect Culpepper, need to give him another option to throw to, and then we need to stop the other team. Too many holes, not enough picks for the depth we need.

7:36 AM  
Blogger The Greg said...

I agree, this REALLY sucks, but it doesn't mean we need to panic and change our draft strategy. Thankfully, I am SURE Nick Saban will not panic. We can draft a servicable young back-up in the 7th round, if one is available. (Note: Preist Holmes (Ricky's college back-up), Chester Taylor, James Allen, Dominic Rhodes, & Mack Strong were undrafted free agent backs). Unless Houston goes crazy and trades their pick with the Fins for little or no compensation (what am I talking about?), there is NO way we should draft a RB in the first round; or 2nd, 3rd, or 4th for that matter.

Concerning Ricky, I'm sure we are all more upset about this than he is, but it's time to move on for this year. I know Ricky will be old (30 is soooo over the hill) by 2007, but I don't think he will be that much less of a player then. He would have played in 12 games in 3 years, which sounds like fresh legs to me. Either way, he's coming back to us, Saban can decide if he's "valuable" to the team then. Which is just another reason we shouldn't get crazy and draft RB 1st round, we very well could have Ricky back next year. We just need a guy to fill the hole and I think we can do that in June, when teams make their cuts.

Always remember you are unique... just like everybody else.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way too much talk about the draft and not enough picks. This team is ALREADY better than last year's team.

Too bad about Ricky - I think he get a bad deal this time - but move on.

The real key to this team is what Nick Saban does and if the O line continues to make improvement. I still think Miami can win 10 games this year.

9:29 AM  
Blogger DwinkinAle said...

This is very dissapointing. I really believe the league made a mistake here. Yes, I understand that if you do the crime you must do the time. Ricky certainly put himself in the situation with his first 3 marijuana offenses that any accidental or uninformed result could burn him. Now it has. From what I have read, I understand that the positive result was more than likely an Anphetemine and something in Ricky's new holistic practices caused the positive result. Even if that were true (which it very likely could), we all know the league does not like to look bad regarding it's policies. Ricky was doomed as soon as the information was leaked. I firmly believe that even the most compelling evidence that Ricky presented to the league would have done him no good. If the league did not suspend Ricky it would be opening itself up to a vast variety of potetial issues regarding it's drug policy and they just don't want that to happen. Whether it is right or wrong for the player in question, the league feels it needs to take care of itself more. It is sad that some NFL players can get away with murder (exageration?) and not see and reprocusions from the league. Here we have a player that probably took some form of Anphetimine, whether herbal or not and he is out of the league and possibly his career. Nevermind Ricky's dramatic turnaround over the past year. Coaches and the community praised him for his efforts not only on but off the field as well. This is a good guy and the league didn't take that into consideration at all. If they had some type of exception should have been made. 'No chance of him playing this year'. Like I said before, however, the league will come down hard on a good guy for a minor (rediculous) infraction, yet let more serious crimes go unpunished. If the league has a policy against something they are unwavering and oft time, unfair. Yes if Ricky commited the crime, he should do the time. But heck, even in prison there is time off for Good Behavior. The league screwed up here.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Batman1113 said...

The Draft situation has not changed much as far as I can see. I was assuming that one of the 7th rounders would be used for a RB, and I think it still will happen. The SMARTEST thing to do, unless Leinart or Young falls to #16, is to trade the pick for a #2 and another #3 or a #4. We need more picks, and that fact has not changed.

I will miss Ricky. Always liked the guy.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why when we have a chance to get Lavar, T.O., Law; you get him. Now we still need in order S, WR, OLB, CB, OG, back up QB, back up RB. Guys we picked Brown with the 2nd overall pick, we have Minor/Morris that's great for a back up.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a joke, some of you are defending Ricky and bad mouthing the league? As if somehow they spiked his coolaid. Ricky new he had to be extra careful about anything he puts in his body. It was his and only his responsiblity. This isn't the 1st or the 2nd or the 3rd, this was the 4th time. To the guy who said he was going to picket, are you nuts? Why would you waste your time? Ricky doesn't deserve it, he has let us down once again. I never want to see him in a Fins Uniform again. I will be burning Ricky's Jersey at my draft party on Sat.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think if Your Miami, you trade down, get some extra picks and target a rb in the 4th round. I think the 1st day is a little high for a back up, very Wannstedtish considering all the teams needs. Maybe a guy like Leon Washington on the second day. I think this makes the case for Miami to grab a WR in the 1st round though. They're gonna need more fire power now on that side of the ball. Maybe after the draft they make a run at Ty Law, which seems logical. You would like to get a yound DT, but they do have Manny Wright, Vickerson, Zgonina, David Bowens, and Carter. That's alot of depth, albeit old. I think LB is the #1 need on defense.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we should give K.J Harris a shot to be the back up. Saban liked him enough to have kept him on the practice squad last year when he had 4 other RB's on the roster.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Finsfan13 said...

Ricky was the best RB on our roster last year. Hank Goldberg is still adament that if Ricky wasn't suspended that he would be traded anyway - a thought I don't agree with.

Saban's made a lot of smart moves since taking over. I feel confident he'll handle this as well.

The best thing that could happen is one of the three QB's being there at 16 - we'll definitely pull the trigger on a trade then.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Kzuki said...

I am as disappointed as many others here about this whole thing, but, I notice alot of people are convinced that this has thrown us off track. "Too many holes to plug; got to get excellent play from mediocracy, etc". I'm not so sure that St. Nick hasn't already put into place his contingency plan. Remember, it was St. Nick and the Phins that asked that they reach their decision before the draft (for this very reason). So, for that alone, I'm not worried going into this weekend. Considering the above, doubled with the fact that (if anyone cares to remember) Saban already has made mediocre players play beyond their abilities (finishing strong with six straight) I think we'll be just fine!
The Mighty Phins in 06!

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see the value in spending another high pick on a running back. I think they should wait for the cuts and pick up a servicable veteran who has proven they can run in the NFL. Right now Houston has Vernand Morency and Domonick Davis. After they draft Reggie, will they let one of them go? If so, go after one of those guys. They're are plenty of other veterans that can be evaluated later. Kay Jay Harris may deserve a shot. Save the picks for OLB, DT, and WR.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got down reading "This could be the Year: My 30 Years as a Miami Dolphins Fan" and I have to tell you, after reading that book, that man, this stuff just always seems to happen to this club. They get close and something silly happens. I don't want to say they're jinxed...I don't know what it is. Under Spielman and Wannstedt it was just bad management...and Jimmy...well, at least we got some guys like Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor...both have been points of pride over the years. ...I have faith that this is a temporary setback. Saban will figure something out. I didn't view the Dolphins as a Super Bowl team this year, but I do see them as a playoff team with potential to win the division.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want JUSTICE! If the Denver or NFL official would not have run his F'n mouth, Ricky would be scoring some more (not pot either).The NFL just had to keep the pie off their face by standing by their testing. I just wanna puke! This is completely unfair and they f'n know it.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's a good Rev. Jackson or Rev Sharpton when you need one. If they plan a march to the draft, I'm sure he'll be able to suit up for the 2006 season opener.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Phinfan said...

Its time my fellow dolphin fans had a little faith. I remember this time last year everyone was saying it would be three seasons before we saw a winning one. NO! We finished 9-7 first year under Saban and we are better off now than last season. Ricky is gone, so what, Its Ronnies time and I don't care what you say about never carrying the load. He did admirably his last two games WITHOUT ricky. Its his time. In Saban we Trust. Im ready for our home Super bowl game.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Armando Salguero said...

Um, phinfan, I appreciate your optimism, but your facts are wrong. In truth the Dolphins did well the final two games last year without Ronnie Brown, who was hurt. It was, in fact, Ricky Williams who started those games and kicked tail.

12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ricky should get Canadian citizenship, where the Dolphins or courts of America can't touch his income, play for the CFL the rest of his life and stick his spiritual finger up the NFL's arse.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Ottawafan said...

I hear that the Dolphins have some interest in J. Walker. That would be a nice pick up, but I am afraid the cost would be too high. As for a back-up RB maybe we could take a look at Mr. Whizzinator (Ontario Smith) I believe we had some interest in him before and he just got released. He is a good back and would be great as a back-up. We might even get him for less than he is worth because of his bad image. Why not replace one character-issue RB with another?

3:25 AM  

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