Friday, August 17, 2012, 10:23am
He has the build at 6-foot, 218 pounds -- not exactly Dexter McCluster or Tatum Bell out there. Think it's easy to make a judgment on Mathews' ability to stay healthy, but for some historical context, Ricky Williams missed 10 games his first two seasons. He played a full 16-game schedule over his next three and ended his career with four years without a missed game.
Not saying a turnaround is guaranteed, but it's early. The book on Mathews' durability isn't written yet. It is off to a poor start.
Mathews is still battling to get ready for the opener. Meanwhile, his stock has dropped - and for good reason, injuries are a concern. However, since the broken clavicle, Mathews draft stock has plummeted to the late 2nd/early 3rd round. He's now a value on a points per game basis. The question is, can you live with the risk and possibility he wont be ready for Week 1.
History lesson with Chargers HC Norv Turner: He likes his backs to run a lot, and he doesn't care if the rest of the league is going to this consistent two-back business. When the Chargers let Mike Tolbert go to Carolina in free agency and didn't replace him with a prominent back as complement to third-year man Ryan Mathews, that sent the message about Mathews' role to the team loud and clear. "At that moment, I knew I'd be the guy,'' Mathews said.
Look at Turner's track record. When he took over as Jimmy Johnson's offensive coordinator in 1991, Emmitt Smith's carries rose from 241 in 1990 to 365 in Turner's first year. In 2002 in Miami, the Dolphins had just acquired Ricky Williams and had just signed Turner as coordinator. Williams had his two biggest seasons for carries (383, 392) with Turner in Miami. And Frank Gore hit his career rushing high for attempts (312 carries) in Turner's only 49er season. Last week, Turner said in San Diego he was getting Mathews ready "for everything he can handle.'' Sounds very much like Mathews, if he stays upright, will get his 300 carries, and then some.
"Coach Turner's coached a lot of great backs,'' Mathews told me the other day. "He's told me I remind him of Ricky Williams, which is the kind of back I would like to be. In college [Fresno State] I was a workhorse back. I believe I can do that here. My training has really improved, and I've set high standards for myself. I shouldn't come off the field at all this year.''
That would mean Mathews, who has had 72 catches combined in his first two years, could have that many this season alone. If he plays on most third downs, particularly with Philip Rivers needing to throw hot because he could be under duress early if the new-look line struggles, Mathews could approach 400 touches.
The Chargers intend to feed Mathews as much as any back in the league. It'll be up to him to handle it.
Mathews is currently RB5 in 4for4's rankings. We're expecting him to be productive in a big workload, but our one concern is his durability. However, no RBs are completely immune to the injury bug -- it comes with the territory.
Ricky Williams remains true to character, going out on his own terms with a year left on his deal. Second year back Anthony Allen may be asked to step up behind Ray Rice if the Ravens don't draft or sign an RB.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 3:03pm
As evidenced by Albert Haynesworth's one-armed tackle Monday night, Bush simply doesn't have the power to succeed between the tackles or at the goal-line. And the team appears to have given up on rookie Daniel Thomas already. They re-signed ancient Larry Johnson and worked out ancient Brian Westbrook, although they have not signed Westbrook to a contract.
The biggest evidence of Miami's inept passing game was a fourth and goal at the half-yard line after Chad Henne and Davone Bess had gotten the team within inches of scoring. Instead of seeing Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, or Larry Johnson trying to power over the goal-line, Henne threw an incomplete pass and the ball reverted to New England on downs.
As long as Bush remains the feature back, look for Miami to become a passing team with Chad Henne, who did not look bad on Monday night and has some weapons at his disposal. Bush is most effective in the passing game. Still, can anyone argue this team is better WITHOUT Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams?
Sunday, September 4, 2011, 8:51am
Veteran running back Ricky Williams has found a home with the Baltimore Ravens. The coaches there love him because he’s been very professional and quiet. He’s been the first player out at practice every day, and he came to work in fantastic shape.
What’s more - his pass protection has been outstanding. Williams looks like an ideal role player who can get five to 10 carries a game, including some short yardage work. Eventually, though, he could be pushed by promising rookie Anthony Allen.
Ray Rice owners don't want to hear about Williams getting short yardage work. It remains to be seen if that will actually happen, but pairing Rice with Williams isn't a bad idea.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 1:18pm
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron said that the plan for now is to allow Ray Rice to keep running until he gets tired. When that happens, he’s supposed to let Cameron know and Ricky Williams will enter the game.
“We will leave a lot of it up to Ray Rice and we will be smart too because we want Ray full speed at the end of games,” Cameron said.
If Rice is in charge of his own workload, expect him to see a ton of touches this season. Williams is a clear backup, not a member of a RBBC.
Ravens OC Cam Cameron: "Ray Rice will play a major role in short-yardage and goal-line [situations] this year. We were just fortunate to have a guy like [former RB] Willis [McGahee], but this year Ray Rice will be in short-yardage and goal-line [situations] as well. He is outstanding. We just happened to have a couple of them in the last few years. You’ll see him in there as well.”
Those concerned that Ricky Williams would become the Ravens' goal-line back should cross that off their list of things to worry about. Ray Rice is a solid RB1.
They’ve gotten it with the addition of Ricky Williams.
Per a league source, Williams signed a two-year deal. It’s worth up to $4 million.
Williams will still play behind star RB Ray Rice. But don't forget, the Ravens do want to run more this year, and added FB Vonta Leach to do just that. Williams is at least a nice insurance policy for Rice owners, but most importantly, he could steal some TDs away at the goal line based on his between-the-tackles running style.
Beat writer Armando Salguero speculates about the workload for both Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush: "The plan is to make 6-1 and 228-pound rookie Daniel Thomas the workhorse. If he averages 18 carries a game that should be perfect. That would leave maybe an average of 10 carries a game for Bush. You have about 288 carries for Thomas and maybe 160 for Bush. That's a whopping 448 rushes for the season going to those two."
If the Dolphins go into the season with Chad Henne under center, there's a good chance that they'll be trailing a lot, so Bush would get more work as the better pass-catching back. Salguero's prediction of 448 total carries for the two seems like lot, especially considering the combined workload of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams in 2010 (359 total carries) and 2009 (388 total carries). The split sounds about right, however.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 2:54pm
And Ricky Williams announced in a YouTube yoga video: “I’m preparing to go to a new team and finish my career.”
Early reviews from workouts with rookie running back Daniel Thomas: “Pretty impressed actually,” receiver Brian Hartline said. “The dude runs well and has pretty good hands.” Said receiver Davone Bess: “What I was most impressed with is how he caught the ball.”
If Thomas can prove he has the hands to be a three-down back, the Dolphins may not need to sign Ahmad Bradshaw or Darren Sproles to fill that role. Expect Thomas's stock to rise into the 3rd or 4th round if he enters training camp as Miami's RB1.
Friday, April 15, 2011, 3:06pm
Dolphins free-agent running back Ricky Williams said on WQAM's The Sid Rosenberg Show on Thursday that things changed last year and with a new offensive coordinator the team might not want to bring back Ronnie Brown or himself. He also said if the Dolphins make him a fair offer it would be hard for him to leave Miami.
"I think there is always situations and I think Ronnie and I have had some success doing what we been doing here the past couple years, but I think things changed last year," Williams said. "I think we are not the same offense we were two two years ago. I think new offensive coordinator. I think they might want to go in different direction. If Dolphins really want me t o stay and make a fair offer, it would be hard for me to turn down, but I don't know if that is going to happen."
Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 7:46pm
According to Dolphins coach Tony Sparano there are no plans to abandon the team’s ground-and-pound approach, especially once the offensive line gets fixed. Sparano said the Dolphins, which averaged 3.7 yards per carry, will remain a run-first offense.
“We’re going to continue to run the football because that’s my nature. It might not be popular with everybody, but that’s what I like to do. There are some teams in this league that got very far being able to do it,” Sparano said at the NFL’s owners meetings.
Anytime a question about Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams, the team’s two free agent tailbacks, was asked Sparano sidestepped the question. However, he didn’t rule out the possibility that one would return.
Most mock drafts have the Dolphins selecting Alabama's Mark Ingram with their first round pick. If that happens, he will be a valuable fantasy selection come summer.
Monday, January 3, 2011, 10:25am
After six seasons, Ronnie Brown acknowledged he could have played his final game with the Dolphins. The running back will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. Brown and Ricky Williams, also a free agent, could be of interest to the Patriots, who are expected to have Fred Taylor retire in the offseason.
Sunday, December 26, 2010, 10:39am
The Lions are planning to see a full dose of the wildcat formation this week because of Miami QB Chad Henne’s horrible play of late. Miami runs it better than everybody else, and they do change formations from week to week. Of course, Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has threatened to come after Dolphins RB Ricky Williams if he throws an illegal low block on any of his defenders. The key to the wildcat is not to overreact.
Before two weeks ago, Ricky Williams could also have said the same about his 10-year career.
Yet during Miami's loss to the Bears on Thursday, that's exactly what happened to both of them. Brown and Williams each contributed three runs for 11 combined yards.
"In the last two games, our runners have 33 carries for 90 yards,'' Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. "That isn't good enough.''
Far from it. During a season when the running game's production has been less than anticipated, this downward trend reached a new and extreme low. Adding to the unfathomable number of carries Thursday, the Dolphins were also down to a third-string quarterback who lost his star wide receiver to a hamstring injury before halftime. If ever it seemed the load would be on the shoulders of the backs, this was it.
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