There are all kinds of stats floating around the Miami Dolphins about the more rushing yards they pick up, the greater their chances of winning are. Offensive coordinator Dan Henning said yesterday that the only stat he really cared about was that the Fins are 6-0 this year when scoring more points than the other team. That said, the magic number for Miami seems to be 130 yards on the ground. When Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams combine to reach that number, the Fins are perfect this season. That leads us to the question of the week…
Will the Dolphins run for at least 130 yards against the Browns?
Even after last week’s very impressive rushing performance against the Raiders, the Fins still rank only #19 in rushing yards at 105.9 per game. All year long we have asked: “What is the identity of this Dolphins offense?” It’s clear that the most successful formula for this Dolphins team is to run the football early, often, and effectively. QB Chad Henne seems to have responded very well to his benching and is playing better. I still feel the best and most comfortable offensive gameplan, though, is plenty of Ronnie and Ricky. Run the Ball 35+ times for over 130 yards and the Fins should be very happy come Sunday at about 4pm. Do that and next week’s Jets game will be HUGE!!!!
We have to watch this defense of the Browns. They have produced some good positive plays in some big-time games. So expect them to crowd the line. Look for the eight and nine man fronts as they try and take away the running game. After last week’s ground assault by Ronnie and Ricky, look for lots of man-to-man defense. One of the main reasons the Browns will feel like they can do that is because of the play of rookie CB Joe Haden, the AFC Rookie of the Month. Haden’s four INT’s on the year will help limit the Dolphins to less than 130 yards rushing because they will crowd around the line of scrimmage and force Miami to pass the ball.
One of the keys for the Miami offense this week will be if can they run the football effectively against the Browns defense and if can they reach 130 yards. That number is significant because when the Dolphins reach 130, they are undefeated in four tries this season. If they run for under 130 yards, Miami is just 2-5! Ronnie Brown ran for 101 yards vs. Cleveland last time he faced them and after the way the combination of Ricky and Ronnie pounded the rock last week at Oakland, it controlled the time of possession and kept the defense well rested. I know that I love to see the ball in the air, but it’s the ground game that breaks the will of a defense, and just might keep the playoff stretch alive for the Dolphins!
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.