[Editor's note by Matty I: Note that I plan on doing a short series of posts during the offseason where we vote to create a "Dolphins Team of the Decade." This post - and the ones "el presidente" will hopefully write in the future - will be very good for the debates that will follow when voting begins. Thanks to him for putting this together]
Whether we know it or not, Sunday's game was the last game for the Dolphins of this decade. Talk about how fast the 2000's went! Over the years, we've met a lot of new people, unfortunately lost many people, yet for us... continued to love something throughout all of this. That love is for the Miami Dolphins, which is exactly what we're going to discuss here.
The run game has seen many faces throughout the past ten years. As I researched for this write-up, there were many times when I completely forgot about some of the players. However, in this write-up, expect only Dolphins who were on the team and recorded a statistic for at least two years. These are the numbers of our Running Backs from 2000-2009 of our beloved Miami Dolphins. Hope you enjoy reflecting on the players that have come and left, and ultimately got us where we are today.
Look for this throughout the week with different write-ups, as the year officially ends and we enter 2010-- a new decade of Miami football headed in the right direction.
So, the decade started off with Lamar Smith and JJ Johnson. Smith put together a very solid season to lead the Dolphins to an 11-5 season by breaking 1000 yds and putting up an impressive fourteen touchdowns. Those fourteen touchdowns were the second most in one season throughout the entire decade-- only to be broken by the one and only Ricky Williams in 2002.
We'll get back to Ricky in a bit. Let me put some spotlight on Travis Minor-- who seems to be in the shadow of Ricky Williams, for the most part. Minor was a Dolphin for six years-- quite a long time for any running back in the NFL, especially if your role is to be a #2 back. Minor collected only eight touchdowns in six seasons, but enjoyed success in 2004-- a "Ricky-less" year for Miami, but still split time with Sammy Morris. Morris, now a Patriot, was a back used second to Williams, as well, but compiled decent numbers in 2004 and 2006. Minor, a FSU Seminole, was a third round pick for Miami in 2001. He was productive as a Phin---not a Ram (2007-08).
The majority of the decade was dominated by Ricky Williams, the Longhorn turned Saint turned Dolphin. Even though Ricky gave us a lot of head aches with his drug issues, we should all be thankful he's in Miami. Ricky almost got to the 2000 yard mark in 2002. That year, he set the new franchsie record for rushing yards, and the next year, broke the franchise record for carries. It's tough for us to count that terrible 2007 year, especially for Ricky-- who only got six carries then went down. If we take that year away from Williams, that's forty six touchdowns in just five seasons, which averaging almost ten touchdowns per year. And that's with Ronnie Brown emerging as the number one back. Ricky was able to reach 1000 yards for just the third time during his tenure in Miami this year. Even at this age, Ricky isn't slowing down. Once a beast, always a beast.
What can Brown do for you? Ronnie Brown can come into this league with Miami and take over. Despite two unfortunate season-ending injuries in only five years, Brown has been extremely productive, especially in finding the endzone in the past few seasons. If Brown stayed healthy, who knows how his numbers would go up. Clearly, we have the two most successful runners in the past decade for Miami on the same team right now, which is the mian reason why Miami mastered the Wild Cat and why other teams try the Wild Cat. There isn't much more to say about Brown besides the fact he still puts up great numbers while batling injuries. In with Ronnie and Ricky the past two years has been the staff's favorite Patrick Cobbs. He is a hardworker who suffered a season-ending injury himself this year.
With names like Smith, Williams, and Brown... it doesn't get any simpler than that to lead the Dolphins through a satisfying decade of football.
The Number: 68--- the longest run of the decade. It happened three times (Smith twice in 2000 and Williams once in 2009)
I hope you enjoyed this, and like I said, expect more throughout the week or so.