Fallng off a Cliff
I wanted to find out about when RB's typically fall off a cliff so I did some research. Our own Ricky Williams is a perfect example of how amount of carries is what cause backs to drop off and not neccesarily age. Here are 7 elite backs who all rushed for over 10,000 yards in their careers and have all played in the last decade. I didn't include Corey Dillon because he retired before his play ever dropped off dramatically. Even though Warrick Dunn wouldn't be considered an elite back by most (including myself) he does have 10,000 yards and warrants respect.
Warrick Dunn: 2,669 career carries, 2,257 drop off point
Marshall Faulk: 2,836 career carries, 2,155 drop off point
Curtis Martin: 3,518 career carries, 3,298 drop off point
Edgerrin James: 3,028 career carries, 2,198 drop off point
Shaun Alexander: 2,187 career carries, 1,717 drop off point
Fred Taylor: 2,491 career carries, 2,285 drop off point
Ladainian Tomlinson: 2,880 career carries, 2,365 drop off point
This list tells me 3 things. First of all, Curtis Martin is a freak and should be a first ballot hall of famer. Second, Shaun Alexander probably was a product of Seattle's league best offensive line during the middles of the 2000's and was never the elite back that his production indicated. And lastly...
A top tier everydown runningback will most likely fall off a cliff between 2,100 and 2,300 carries. Here is the bad news...
Thomas Jones: 2,280 career carries
Clinton Portis: 2,176 career carries
Ricky Williams: 2,164 career carries
History indicates that these 3 runningbacks (I threw Portis in there for emphasis) are likely to fall off a cliff next season and be out of football by 2011. This bad news is two fold. One, it seems as though the Jets made the right decision on Thomas Jones and them making good decisions isn't something we like around here. And two, Ricky Williams likely won't be able to match his production from a year ago. Now of course, Ricky could prove to be the exception and not the rule like Curtis Martin, but I highly doubt it, especially with Williams running style. Still, Williams has been suprising people for years so I won't completely doubt him.
Here is the good news...
Ronnie Brown: 928 career carries
I realize that Brown has a history of getting injured and his situation is unique. However, he is an elite back when healthy and with his low mileage I expect him to still turn in atleast 4 seasons at a high level. If Brown averages 275 carries per season (which he has never done btw and has only come within 30 carries of 275 once in his 5 seasons), he will not reach the 2,100 carry mark until 2014!!! Factoring in playoff carries (alot of them hopefully) and running style you still must conclude he atleast has 4 seasons left in his legs if he manages to stay healthy and thats a minimum. In my opinion he should be given an incentive laden 4 year extension that locks him up into the 2013 season.
Also, with Ricky Wiliams likely to decline next season I think drafting a back in the middle rounds (round 3 and after this team has too many pressing needs to take Spiller Im sorry) is a must. Lex Hilliard and Patrick Cobbs can play but they aren't anything more than backup level talent. The Fins need someone to compliment Ronnie's running style longterm and learn the wildcat position. I like Hardesty from Tennessee.
* I believe that the Dolphins lack of interest in Anquan Boldin and Brandon Marshall strongly indicates they are seriously considering drafting Dez Bryant with the 12th overall pick. Parcells and company knows they need a no.1 and Bryant is the only one in the draft who can be counted on for instant production. I think signing Derrick Mason would be a mistake he is merely a slight upgrade on Greg Camarillo. Antonio Bryant is a last resort.
* The Dolphins should sign S Ryan Clark. He is a good player with excellent tackling skills and underrated coverage ability and hes an instant upgrade over Gibril. That would also take the teams major needs down to 3 (OLB, WR, NT)
* If the Dolphins trade Tyler Thigpen and Ted Ginn, and get a compensatory pick (which armando says they will), the team will have 12 draft picks potentially. Filling 3 holes with 12 picks is very reasonable.
* NT Jamal Williams??? He is only 34 (not that old for a nose) and if he sits on the market he could be a nice stopgap.
* The team needs to re-sign Jason Taylor or risk counting on 1st and 2nd year players at both rush linebacker spots. I think Wake has a ton of potential but they need a veteran and Taylor is the consiment pro and can still play.
* Bring in David Martin for a workout. He was a big time player for us a year ago and if he can still run he is an excellent compliment to Fasano. I am still wondering why he was ever waived-injured in the first place.
* NVM I just read Jamal Williams is already taking a physical in Denver and Antonio Bryant is apparently visiting the Bengals today.
* The Dansby signing doesn't mean they won't still draft a ILB at somepoint. Crowder is a good player but he has an injury history and Torbor is a poor backup as far as being able to start if need be. I like Jamar Chaney.