It is uncanny how this season is starting to mirror last season for Ronnie Brown.
Last year Brown entered the season with questions hovering about him. Was he overweight? Did he want it? Could he be the dominant player he's supposed to be based on being the No. 2 overall selection of the 2005 draft?
This year Brown entered the season with questions hovering about him. Was his knee healthy? Why couldn't he beat out Ricky Williams? Could he be the dominant player he's supposed to be based on being the No. 2 overall selection in the 2005 draft?
Brown started slow the first two games last year, averaging about 3 yards per carry in limited work. Brown started slow the first two games this year, averaging about 3 yards per carry in limited work.
Brown busted out in the third game of the 2007 season. Brown busted out in the third game of the 2008 season.
And Brown used that third game to go on a string of four consecutive games in which he passed the 100-yard rushing mark and was clearly Miami's most consistent offensive weapon. The hope is Brown can use Sunday's stomping of New England to roll out a string of good outings in which he can lead the Dolphins to some success.
Does Brown think that can happen?
"I hope so," he said. "Coming into the season I felt pretty good physically and each week I continue to feel better like I’ve been saying over the past few weeks. It’s nothing different, just having a bit more success on the offensive side of the ball and that’s not based on my performance solely. We did a great job on offense and we did a lot of things coming into this week as far as practice-wise.”
If Brown can use Sunday's game as a launching pad for good things, the Dolphins offense promises to be more consistent than it was the first two games of the year. But it won't be easy. With San Diego, Baltimore, and Buffalo on the schedule three of the next four games, Brown will face traditionally good run defenses.
The Ravens have the No. 5 run defense this year. San Diego is No. 18 and Buffalo is No. 12. Houston, meanwhile, is No. 27.
We'll see where it goes. But if this year is indeed something of a mirror image of last year for the Dolphins running back, the next few weeks bode well.
[Update: Brown is one of three players nominated for the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the week honors. Fans can vote for him at NFL.com. Get clicking.]