The heat is on Ronnie Brown
Brown, despite being in good shape at a trim 230 pounds, looked spent and was clearly not prepared for so much action.
But he better get used to it.
Brown, you see, is going to be asked to carry the load for the running game this year. I know you've heard that before, but this year the training camp talk about this talented player doesn't seem to be merely lipservice.
"I know my workload is going to be turned up," Brown said following today's practice.
Cam Cameron expects Brown to be a workhorse in the mold of LaDanian Tomlinson, Priest Holmes, Marshall Faulk, Eric Dickerson and any number of the other quality backs that previously have made themselves stars in the system Cameron runs.
And unlike the past coaching regime, Cameron seems to realize if Brown is going to carry the load in games, he's first going to have to do it in practice successfully -- at least early in training camp.
So Brown is not only getting plenty of repetitions in practice, he's getting work (as in carries or catches) during those repetitions.
It makes sense if you believe the adage that one plays as he practices. In the past Brown didn't seem to get an inordinate amount of work in practices. I guess you can argue that saved him for the games, but it also set him up for a certain amount of failure.
How, after all, can you expect the guy to carry the load in games if he's never done it practice?
It was never surprising when Brown would fail get more than 15 or so carries a game when he wouldn't be prepared for more work than that during the week. (By they way, am I the only one who would be frustrated watching Brown break off a couple of 6- or 7-yard runs during a game then either ask out or get replaced by Sammy Morris?)
That isn't likely to happen as much this year. First, there is no veteran backup behind Brown, and there is practically no chance Ricky Williams will ride to save him as happened in 2005. Yeah, Williams' days with Miami are over.
Lorenzo Booker will be a change-of-pace guy, but he's not destined for 180 carries. So it'll be Brown. It must be Brown.
The good thing about this is that Brown seems to welcome the increased practice workload.
"Whatever I got to do as far as running myself into the ground in practice and having to fight through it," he said today. "Come in the game situation, it'll be a little bit easier for me."