Monday, December 31, 2007

Evaluation of Offense: RBs

Next comes the running backs, probably the strength of the team.

Ronnie Brown

It's a shame that Ronnie had to go down with a knee injury. He was leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage before he got hurt and was finally showing the skills we thought we were getting when he was drafted 2nd overall a few years ago. After a slow first two games, Ronnie ran at about a 6 yards per carry average until his injury.

Supposedly he will be back in time for training camp, so hopefully we won't have to consider any long term answers at this position. Players are bouncing back from ACL injuries much more successfully nowadays.

Verdict: Monitor his progress very carefully. If things are looking good, then don't bother drafting a running back in this class. There are too many holes to worry about getting another back, especially when we are relatively deep at the position anyway.

Ricky Williams

This evaluation is probably moot. After a below average performance in his only appearance before injuring his pectoral muscle, Ricky probably has no value at this point. It's easy to find a replacement back off the streets. Undrafted free agents do well if you have a line to run behind.

Ricky is probably past the point where he can be an effective running back. We saw some of this in the CFL and now we don't have to attribute it to a different kind of football. The injury bug has bitten him often of late as well.

Verdict: Considering Parcells doesn't want "bad character" guys, expect Ricky to be on his way out and probably out of the league. I wouldn't mind bringing him back but it's unlikely.

Jesse Chatman

Jesse had a very nice season in the absence of Ronnie Brown. He ran hard and broke several long runs for touchdowns. Chatman was one of the few nice stories on the Dolphins this year, after having eaten himself out of the NFL. Unfortunately, he might have played his way out of Miami.

Verdict: As a backup or even a short term starter as Ronnie recovers, Jesse is just fine. However his performance this season might have put him out of our price range. Another team might be willing to throw a considerable amount of money at him. We do have a lot of cap space, but backup RB is not a priority.

Lorenzo Booker

For some reason, Lorenzo was invisible to the coaching staff the first two-thirds of this season. When he finally got a chance to get in the game, Lorenzo was basically our best receiver. I'm not sure that's necessarily a good thing. He isn't the best runner in between the tackles, but we all knew that when he was drafted. His pass catching ability is noteworthy though, and he has shown us some of those flashy juke moves our players raved about in practice.

Verdict: Booker is a decent player and if you can exploit his talents correctly, can be an effective weapon in the NFL. I would like to see him split out wide now and then and maybe run a split formation with Ronnie and Lorenzo in the backfield at the same time. Creating mismatches is the best way to use Lorenzo, because he is more of a specialist than an every-down back.

Patrick Cobbs

Patrick looked good in preseason and is a serviceable backup. However, once everyone is healthy again, there is no need to keep that many backs on the roster. He is expendable.

Verdict: Barring some sort of injury or losing Jesse Chatman to free agency, Cobbs is probably gone.

Samkon Gado

In the few times he played, he actually did decently. Gado scored a pair of TDs for us this season. He runs hard, but really isn't anything special. There's a reason why he was available even after doing so well 2 years ago in Green Bay.

Verdict: If it's necessary to keep him as a 3rd or 4th back, fine. But an undrafted free agent out of college would be cheaper.

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