The fallout from Ricky's suspension
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.