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More from Casserly and Sparano on Ricky

I wrote a column in today's Miami Herald about Ricky Williams and how he just might be the best player on the Dolphins roster and was definitely the best player on the team during the offseason practices.

I talked to former Houston and Washington GM Charley Casserly,and coach Tony Sparano about that subject for my column and they didn't disagree with me. But they said Ricky, for all his apparent abilities and despite shining in the offseason, still has a way to go to regain the form he had years ago.

And that cannot be argued. Remember we're talking about a guy who ran for 1,853 yards once upon a time.

So what does Ricky have to do to get back in the same vicinity as the player he once was? What are the signs he's doing it or not?

"The biggest key for Ricky will be getting back into a contact situation -- getting behind the line when it's live on the other side of the ball and really starting to feel those bumps and bruises a little bit and seeing where we are at that point," Sparano said.

"I'm curious to watch him because of his offseason and his strength and all the things that have come into play for him that we're seeing. I have a feeling he's going to feel pretty good."

Sparano thinks Williams will feel good because he's worked diligently this offseason preparing for that moment when the contact comes. But Casserly, who witnessed a couple of Dolphins practices and talked to several coaches afterward, says there will be more to look for once the contact begins.

"First of all, no one can say definitively how he's going to do," Casserly said. "We'll start there. The points to look at will be, one, there will be a learning curve. That goes for Ronnie Brown, too. It's a new offense. So there's a learning curve he'll go through hitting the holes with the new offensive line.

"Then he's got to get his legs back under him, he's got to get the speed of the game back. So if I'm watching him, half the time I'd be trying to figure out if he's still getting used to the system or is it him trying to get his legs back under him and where he is in his career.

"The next thing I would look for are burst and explosion. Does he have the explosion on contact where he still can knock guys back and then burst with speed? If you see that, then things are coming together. If you don't see that, then age caught up with him."

Casserly has one area of concern that I share that would show us Williams is losing it: Injuries. With the exception of an ankle injury early in his career, Williams has been able to play through injuries most of the time. But lately -- during his Canada experience and again last season when that Pittsburgh jerk player stepped on him -- Williams has suffered injuries.

"The injury factor is key," Casserly said. "Is he going to be able to take the hits? He's [31] years old. The good thing is they're not asking him to be the main back. They're asking him to play a role. Clearly, he's going to be hungry. There's no question the guy has played excellent football in his career. It's not like he hasn't done it and you kind of have him in the position where this is important to him now. So you have a hungry guy.

"I think if he can stay healthy, he's going to be good."

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good article, good post mando

the whole time I was thinking about the "I" word until you brought it up. I think the same thing goes for ronnie as well, in training camp and preseason we should get a better idea of where were at

do you think we'll carry cobbs and both rookies on the 53 man roster. or would one be stashed on the practice squad or is cobbs going to be dropped.I know special teams will probably be the deciding factor

Excellent stuff. I love the way Charley Casserly basically explained how to break down a running back. Like what to look for and what it means. Great post.

Mando,

The only question for me about Ricky is, how is the guy trying to stop him gonna feel after about the 14th or 15th rush attempt ?

Run over 'em Ricky. I still love ya man !!

Good post Mando thanks. I think this year willb e about Ronnie and Ricky and the o-line. If they perform we can win a few games if not then we're in trouble.

Armando, why didn't you stick this stuff in the original article? We're not afraid to read two pages at a time!

Good stuff. That's probably the best article of the off-season thus far.

Casserly made a good point about Ricky getting his legs under him, but even though I am not an NFL coach or GM, common sense tells me that all of Ricky's time off is an advantage for his body, not a detriment. Not much wear and tear for the last three years on that 31 year old body has to help.

A ton of backs have played great in the league in their early to mid 30's, Emmett, Marcus Allen, Walter, Corey Dillon, Otis Anderson, although most do decline. So Ricky does have a shot at being great again, and the Parcell's conditioning program will only help.

Great article Mando. I have been worried about the injury last season... all off season. I think he has trained harder this time around and will be a force on the field. Im really worried about Ronnie more. His injury was much worse and he still isn't at 100%.

Wow Armando. Everyone has fallen in love with you. Just think, all these hate bloggers and all you had to do was write about Ricky Williams and you would have been the man.

Isn't it interesting that articles regarding Ricky always get a big response from dolfans. He is a great player and person. I am eager so watch those DB's get knocked back while Ricky runs over them, and just when they are getting back up Ronnie will knock them out for good.
p.s. Jets suck suck suck

Loved the article, if anything it finally got the stupid picture of Farve wearing a Dolphin uniform off of the front page. So you get bonus points for that!

Be nice to hear what some of the players are saying about Ricky. Loved hearing that Brown and Ricky are getting along so well. Things like that can only help. Especially when it seems that this year is going to be filled with one of them going in and pounding the ball, then the other comes in with freash legs and getting all the glory.

With that in mind, is it always best to play your best back first?

Tin: Can't put everything in the paper because there simply isn't enough space. But that is why you can come here because the Internet is not yet full.

Tom@jax: Believe me, I know everyone HAS NOT fallen in love with me.

Phinatic,

My best guess is that Cobbs will be dropped like a bad habit, and that one of the rookies RB's will make the 53 man roster, while the other one will be stashed on the practice squad.

Who wants to take bets on how many carries before Ricky (the rumblin' fumbler') has before his first fumble?

I cannot believe posters are actually contemplating the fate of Cobbs! I also cannot believe that my life is so empty that I can get angry at the idiocy of anyone, anywhere (his family included) spending one moment of time believing that Cobbs is a football player.

Ricky does not have a particularly noteworthy fumbling problem--Google the stats if you wish, or find a more factual basis for your hatin'!

Ricky does not have a particularly noteworthy fumbling problem--Google the stats if you wish, or find a more factual basis for your hatin'!

I don't think Ricky is the end all be all but I'm still irritated that I think the Steeler that stepped on Ricky's shoulder and tore the pec did it intentionally and NO ONE has done anything about it. Its a contact sport I know but that was unbelievably obvious and he should have been fined or suspended. Anyone who argues that it wasn't intentional is a moron.

And in case you forgot what dipsh*** are on MNF Here they are blaming what amounts to assault on Williams conditioning

http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d80492479

Manuel Lebor, actually, I recall several analysts talking about the rumbler's fumbles...I have seen the stats...Why don't YOU compare his fumbles VS say, Ronnie Brown...I think you'll be surprised since ignorance is bliss...

Actually, thank you for making me re-visit the stats....Looks like he's good for almost 2 and a half a game...He had 1 in the SIX carries last year...So, if you're so sure that he no longer has fumbilitis, put your $ where your mouth is. I say he doesn't make it through the first quarter of play before he coughs the ball up!

MJZ - think of it as a car, if you park it in the garage for a couple of years it won't run as well as if you drive it regularly. At the same time, the league changes, the defenders get fast and bigger and not practicing and not playing leaves a player with a huge learning curve that he normally wouldn't have to deal with. And remember, just because you're not playing NFL football doesn't mean you stop aging. And he has suffered two or three injuries in those two years, that takes a toll as well. All that said, I do think his conditioning will prove to be the catalyst for him to return to top form, provided the OL is there for him.

All it will take is one toke!

Armando - Ah, I see. I didn't realize it was a printed article, as I live in California and read it online. That makes sense. As for the internet not being full, I think that is debatable.

Marc - He had six carries last year, you can't get a proper average from 6 carries. He had 168 carries the year before and only had one fumble. Plus you are doing the math backwards. His per game average is 0.43 fumbles/game. If anyone fumbled 2.5 times a game they wouldn't even make it onto the peewee team.

The I word is a bad word. But we have two backs to share the load. So, it might work our real well.

I think that Ricky and Ronnie are going to get to the secondary this season. The line is better on paper. If what we are hearing is right then they should be in the secondary often. In the past Ricky and Ronnie had to beat the line first then the secondary. That makes it tougher and incresed the chance for injuries.

It all depends on the line. If Jake Long comes out and plays the way he is paid then the running game will be a force. We also have a lot of potential at center and right tackle. The guards are relatively young with the exception of Smiley.

It should be exciting to see Ricky run. If he can play at a high level then we will be in good shape. It would be amazing if he plays at his 2002 level.

Ronnie will be coming off the injury but he is young. He seemed to turn the corner last year until the New England game. Splitting the carries with Williams should help a lot. My expectation is around 15+ carries per back by end of season. .

John Beck's job will be to manage the game. McCown probably hurt his stock with this chain saw incident.

It's great to see competition on this team at many positions. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding next season and the performance of the Dolphins. We have a lot of unproven players and potential. It's a matter of time before we see if the front office's decisions pay off.

tinshaker---thnx for blowing "Marc" out of the water. Ricky is NOT a noteworthy or egregious fumbler.

I think if i remember correctly Ricky likes running to the right. And Ronnie likes running to the left. We need a good right guard.

One of the big things with Ricky was his production late in games .Teams wuold stop him early buy in the 3rd and4th quarter was when his conditioning started to take over games that is what I will be looking for.

In 2002, Ricky reminded my why I fell in love with this game in the first place. Winning is nice, but it's the sheet grace of the truly great athletes that really make it worth while. Danny was that, in spades. And Ricky is, to me, one of the most natural athletes to play football since Bo. Sure, I wish he would have been more committed to the game (or more discreet in his personal habits), but life is what it is.

I'm just glad for the chance to see him run again.

Manuel Lebor - I may have corrected Marc's math, but Ricky's fumble ratio is still nearly double that of other high profile RB's in the league. the average is about 0.25 fumbles a game and his is in the .40s. Of course none of this takes into consideration fumbles that were recovered by the back, bad handoffs/pitches by the QB (we dolfans know all about that) and helmets on the ball. I don't consider fumbles the end all of football statistics, but we don't like to see them happen on the offensive side of the ball.

Bobby - Imagine if he is fresh in the second half because Brown starts the game and wears down the defense, or vice-versa.

u mean when that Pittsburg Bastard STOMPED on his back!

u mean when that Pittsburg Ba$tard STOMPED on his back!

I am looking forward to a little R&R (Ricky & Ronnie) this season, but I cant for the life of me figure out why we let Lorenzo Booker go, he would have been the perfect'change of pace' back that could keep defenses on there heels. Especially if no-one feels that Cobb is going to make 'THE CUT' This to me is 1 bad decision from our new regime, but I like everything else that they have done thus far!

I think ricky and ronnie are going to be put into the game on different drives for the most part, who ever starts the series will finish its own drive....hoppfully with a TD!!!
Who ever is more productive after a few drive will get to play the most but that will change every game...GO DELFINES

TS--I stand corrected; thanks

yeah I was thinking the same thing save but cobbs played alot of special teams, so I think the rookie with the special teams makes the cut

whoever that was I wasn't impressed with cobbs performance last year just asking a roster question

I liked lorenzo booker too, I was suprised it took cameron so long to utilize him with all the great things we were hearing early on from practice. I know the trifecta prefers bigger backs who can put in a block for the QB and contribute on ST but I still think he would have been good catching screens on 3rd and long. He will probably be a good compliment to westbrook

I also didn't like not resigning Rex Hadnot and Derrick Pope

Phinatic, agreed on the Hadnot thing. Of course I'm still unhappy about Zach Thomas being let go. He may not fit into the future of the team but I would've liked to see him retire a Dolphin.

Me too I always was a bigger ZT fan than a JT fan. He still is a dolphin in a spiritual sense in my mind. I grew up (I'm still young, 24) watching him on the post game interviews. Last year every week I was waiting to here that he was going to play. That concussion thing really messed our whole D. If you check the stats you'll see on the games he was active the rushing yards were much fewer

That car accident was bull made up by Cameron, you can't reagrivate a concusion. Whiplash like sideeffects or whatever they called it

I also have always been a bigger fan of ZT than JT. Dont get me wrong, I appreciate JT for everything he has done for the Dolphins, and I also hope he returns and finishes out his contract as a Dolphin. But I still would have loved for Zack to have stayed just as much. It would not have hurt Chowder to play middle behind Zach for 1 more year. Shoot we could have rotated them so that Zack would be fresh toward the end of the year, just in case of the highly unlikely probability that we a had a slim shot at 8--8 record.

Open question for the dolphins org. when are you going to change the helmet logo and brighten your uniform colors... Change of color also brings change of mind set

JT to the redskins for 2nd rd pick

thank god this circus is finally coming to an end

Mando---get your head out of your ass & post on the trade. Remember whenyou said Tuna was being greedy, and that Fins would be lucky to get a 4th? Huh, Mr Honesty?

wow....finally done....jt gone..............

let's move onward and upward !!!!

2nd and a 4th shawn

sorry, second '09 and a sixth on '10

and the sob wants to be there on monday.....what a loser

me and ricky got high last night

Are you all smokin and jokin with Ricky or what??? Have you forgotten about that little "habit" he has??? He won't last a season! You all have illusions of grandeur about him....

Hopefully Ricky has put down tha pipe and will pick up the ball and start to run with it again.Miami could have the best runninggame in the NFL if things work out right!!!

Comment on "With the exception of an ankle injury early in his career, Williams has been able to play through injuries most of the time. But lately -- during his Canada experience and again last season when that Pittsburgh jerk player stepped on him -- Williams has suffered injuries."

-you make it sound like he is brittle player. During the Canada experience? Do you realize that when he broke the left forearm, that that was a clean break and all Ricky did was go to the sideline and basically shrugged it off? This is one tough, tough son of a gun...you don't even realize....just look at what Pinball Clemons said: "We knew he was urt when he came off the field. It looked like it was his shoulder the way he was leaning, but it turned out to be his arm. You're talking about some fortitude. It's a clean break. he just came off quiet, didn't say a thing. Like, I'd have been screaming."

And Mando..you know you would too if this happend to you....so don't act like Ricky is some kind of weak player that just gets injured all the time...thats just plain bs.....

Also, Ricky came in with like what prep time when he went in for that game in Pittsburgh? How many players in the NFL could just come in, halfway into the season, have a month to get ready, and be ready to EVEN be in a position to play in an NFL game? 1 freakin month Mondo!!! Who wouldn't get injured if those were the circumstances that led up to the injury? Please, these are two horrble examples of what you are trying to explain to all of us, without considering the situation regarding each injury with more detail. Do your homework or be more careful with your word choice.

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