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A Closer Look at Play Calling

One of the many things that Dolphin fans have talked about since the hiring of Cam Cameron is how much more committed to the run Cameron will be than Mike Mularkey was last year when he was calling the plays. But just how much more committed is he?

So what I did was I took a look back at Cameron's previous 5 years as offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers and broke down his play calling. One thing to note when looking at the numbers, it's impossible for me to tell if a QB rushing attempt was a designed play or just him scrambling because he was under pressure. Therefore, I divided QB rush attempts in half and accounted half as running plays and half as passing plays. Also, I included sacks as pasing plays because that's what the play was designed to do before the QB was tackled.

First, here is the play calling breakdown of the past 5 years here in Miami:

Year Pass Plays Run Plays %Run
2002 513 497 49%
2003 501 467 48%
2004 651 371 36%
2005 599 427 42%
2006 648 386 37%
Total 2912 2148 42%

As you can see, all of our complaining about the lack of committment to the run is clearly rationalized. Remember, 2002 and 2003 is when Ricky was tearing it up in his prime so those 2 seasons kind of skew the overall numbers a bit. Also, 2004 is misleading because of the lack of a quality running back on this roster following Ricky's sudden retirement. Also, when you are losing often, you need to pass more often.

However, the 2006 numbers really jump out at me. Despite having a back that many feel is going to be a very good player, Mike Mularkey chose to abandon the run too early too many times. Throwing the ball 648 times in a season where this team's QB situation was terrible is clearly a problem. Thank god that Mularkey won't be anywhere near the play calling this year.

Which brings me to the person who will be calling the plays, head coach Cam Cameron. Here is his play calling breakdown over the past 5 years as offensive coordinator of the Chargers:

Year Pass Plays Run Plays %Run
2002 580 446 43%
2003 571 390 41%
2004 496 495 50%
2005 563 455 45%
2006 516 490 49%
Total 2726 2276 46%

Wow, how much better does that look to you guys? Just look at that balance, especially in '04 and '06. There's certainly reason to be excited about Ronnie Brown's potential this year. For all you fantasy football guys, Ronnie may be a steal as a second round pick.

Without a doubt, this offense is going to be a lot less stressful to watch, if nothing else. But they will likely also be a lot more fun. Lorenzo Booker and Ted Ginn add speed to the offense. Also keep in mind that Cameron likes running trick plays, such as HB passes and end-arounds for receivers. And with Chambers and Ginn, these receivers are likely to get a few shots at making big plays.

And allow me to leave you with three more numbers: 3, 5, and 1. Those are San Diego's rankings over the past 3 seasons in points scored. If that doesn't get you a little bit more excited to see what Cam can do with this offense, then I suggest you check your pulse...or become a Jets fan. One or the other.