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Dolphins will run and run well vs. New Orleans

We've talked ad nauseum the past week about ways the Dolphins can defeat the Saints, and one idea is to keep the ball away from quarterback Drew Brees and a New Orleans offense that is, statistically the best in the NFL.

So, of course, everyone is suggesting the Dolphins should just run the ball. It is, after all, what the Dolphins do best, as their No. 1 ranking confirms, and it's a great way to keep the ball for extended periods.

The critical thinker, however, might look at the Saints defense and counter they are No. 5 in the NFL against the run. So, on the surface, running the ball against the Saints seems as good a strategy as running into a concrete wall.

But since we're "In Depth," as the blog's title suggests we go deeper to find truth. And this is truth: The statistics that paint the Saints as a great run-stopping team exaggerate. Those statistics are based on total yards per game.

And it stands to reason if the Saints are taking huge leads on teams, those teams abandon the run and pass to make up the deficit.

"What we're looking at here is a skewed amount of statistics, though," Dolphins offensive coordinator Dan Henning said Thursday. "We're not going to have very much running against New Orleans when they're ahead by 20 points in the middle of the second quarter. You're not seeing many teams running. They're not going to be running it, they're going to be throwing it, just like the Giants did. You're trying to get back so you don't have as much run."

So what do you do, Dan?

"You go back and look at what have people have done in the first quarter when it was tied," Henning said. "[What happened] when it was 7-7 or 0-0? Did they run the ball decently? You have to look at those stats and see if they stopped the run under those conditions?"

Ah, I love homework.

In looking at the stats under those conditions, you should be encouraged if you are a Dolphins fan, because the Saints have proven to be less than stellar. The statistics in those situation not only suggest the Dolphins will run the be well against New Orleans but, indeed, kick the ever lovin' snot out of the New Orleans defense while running the football.

First, throw out the Saints victory over Detroit. The Lions are not good and New Orleans took a 14-0 lead en route to a 45-27 victory. That game was practically over in the first quarter.

The next week the Saints yielded only 3.6 yards per carry against Philadelphia. But before the game got out of hand, up until the point the Eagles were trailing 17-10, Philadelphia rushed nine times for 59 yards. That's a a 6.5 yard per carry average while the game was still close and before Philly abandoned the run.

The next week the Saints faced a Buffalo team that stayed close for quite a while. And the Bills, a good but not great running team, ran the ball well during that time. Buffalo rushed 19 times for 79 yards, which works out to a 4.1 yard per rush average.

The following week the Jets averaged a very good 4.9 yards per carry.

Last week against, the Giants averaged 4.4 yards per rush during the game. But while the game was still in doubt, up to the point it was 27-10, the Giants had gained 62 rushing yards on 11 carries. That's a 5.6-yard per rush average.

But here is the reeealllly interesting thing that jumped out at me. The Saints have faced a Wildcat type of run play six times this year. They have yielded 49 yards on those plays. That's an 8.2-yard per play average yield against Wildcat plays

Of course, none of this will make Gibril Wilson tackle better nor will it sack Drew Brees.

But it suggests the Dolphins will absolutely, positively move the ball on the ground against the New Orleans defense. And they will be able to keep Brees on the sideline where he can do no damage.


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This is definitely good news. Thanks for doing the homework, Mando!



Nice analysis. Let's hope for a repeat performance like in the Indianapolis game, except this time we have to get TDs instead of FGs.

Let's hope so!! Can't wait til Sunday......woohoo

Miami should be able to run with little resistance in this one.Good job Mando.

Good news, but...Offense is not the biggest concern. The real question is if the defense will show up. I'm thinking their pride might kick in. Brees is nice- wanted him both times, but i don't think he can match peyton.

It is also possible that the other teams ran the ball well after the Saints had the lead because they were playing to defend the pass, not the run.

Of course that scenario would only be valid after the game was out of hand, not in the early stages.

Either way, Miami will run and they will do well, I agree.

whatever else might be wrong with the team i think they can run on anyone!

If we win this game,do you think the boys at ESPN will show us some love like they always do for the Jets and Patriots?Even when they lose they get more respect than us.It's time to make a statement boys!

excellent homework Armando. You get an "A+".


Better hope they run well! It's about the only chance we have. As much as I like Henne, I don't see him throwing TD's to keep pace with Brees just yet.

It's the Colts gme all over again. Gotta grind them down & chew the clock. Lets not forget, its an outdoor game. Heat, humidity, footing issues, etc. The field crew should loosen up grass outside the numbers running up & down the sidelines. Maybe their WR's will trip & fall running routes. LOL

This game CAN be won. Lets just hope we don't have to rely on G. Wilson or Bell giving over the top help, they haven't been there all year.

Miami's best case scenario? Have them wearing their black jerseys on a hot humid day or have a tropical downpour come through to neutralize Brees. See if their run game is as good as advertised or as good as ours. In a slopfest, I am confident Miami can win. If its bright, sunny & not so warm, it could be ugly.

Either way, making a run this year, even if that #1 toughest schedule is looking easier, isn't really in the cards. This will be a good game to measure up. If we hang close, and for the rest of the season, we should be in contention next year. We're just a few players away. In any event, Go Phins!

Well, well now that is good news. We just beat the heck out of the Saints with a calculator and a pencil. Now I can plan on being at the beach on Sunday knowing that!!

We ran for 239 yards against the Colts. Now, you may see that they are ranked 14th or 15th against the run and say "So what?"

Here's what - if they had held us to under 100 yards, something they have done to every other team they've played, they would be top 5. In other words, they aren't ranked well against the run because they had to play us.

The Saints haven't seen a running game that's close to ours yet.

I think the Saints run defense is still very good. The key stat is average yards per attempt.

If a team has a huge lead and the other team needs to throw the ball in order to catch up, then it should be MUCH easier to run the ball in those situations. The defenses are playing a lot of nickel and dime and the ends tend to try to pressure the QB rather than play the run first. There isn't a big enough sample size to have really meaningful 1st quarter run statistics or start slicing and dicing the stats to try to see them the way you want. Yards per attempt is a much more meaningful stat. The Saints are 10th in the league in yards per carried allowed.

Good post Joe Schmo as a Saints fan over here checking out the competition, so to speak, I agree. We love our defense over here this year but it is really geared to produce turnovers. The ball control offense you guys run is a good one to go against our defense. Our hope is exactly as you pointed out to get up early and force Henne to match Brees. While he looks good he doesn't look as good as Brees and doesn't have the receiver talent around him yet that Brees does. Also, as you pointed out the weather is the wildcard. I don't think the heat and humidity will be much of an issue for a New Orleans based team but a strong shower on a natural turf might put both teams on an even footing (pun intended) from an offensive perspective.

Looks like someone learned a new word this week. Ad Nauseum huh?

Anyways, we need to play bump and run coverage with those recievers. We can not give them any room to work the field. If I see our guys playing 10 yards off I will personally kick their butts.

I expect another pick or two by Vontae in this game.

"Well, well now that is good news. We just beat the heck out of the Saints with a calculator and a pencil. Now I can plan on being at the beach on Sunday knowing that!!"

Posted by: DolphinLover | October 22, 2009 at 04:10 PM

I don't know you but that was pretty brilliant! Spilled my starbucks on that one.

Okay here is my take on this Game
1) New orleans is a Dome Team playing is South florida Heat, i dont see the score being higher than the jets game we played.

2)this game isnt about miami's offense and we know it's about the Defence this IMO will be a statemetn game for them. Miami can score its whether or not drew brees uniform is going to be dirty or not, this is about the line of scrimmage on both sides we know what the offensive line can do, look for the dolphins to release the beast this Game "Wake".

3)do the dolphins coaches get creative in this game with having joey, wake and jt on the field at the same time , will ted ginn show that he can be an NFL returner. its know about the the QB no more he showed that he can play with the best of um (he didnt look like no second year qb the last two games)if we learn anything about this team is that the coaches can get um ready

I go out on a limb and say this but Dolphins Win drew brees doesnt look so good in south florida heat with a dirty uniform, Pressure Burst PIPE!!!!!

GO PHINS Super bowl Champs 09!!!!!

I watched the Giants game. They came out on offense and tried to match the pass game of brees and co. and abandoned the run from the start.

Sure they ran the ball, but they passed downfield for incompletes which forced them to pass again.

I never understood that. You have one of the best Olines in the league and you have a QB who has a bad achilles and they throw throw throw.

stupid football on the road particularly.

Fins at home. Saints aint never seen any wildcat as wild as this one. Pat White coming out to play lately and Henne just getting started.

We will definitely run on these guys with a stout Oline ourselves and wear them down in the heat but this time with Henne on target with different receivers.

you got to beat the best to be called the best looks like we will be called the best after this one.Dont crown the saints yet we saw what the giants did to the pats two years ago , i know this aint the superbowl but you see what pressure did in that game.!!!

6 plays... 6.. You are basically saying that for 6 (wildcat) plays in the previous 5 games will give Miami fans hope... Man, I hope everything works well for you on Sunday. As for me ( Saints fan ) I think the wildcat has to score touchdowns. If not, see u on Sportscenter. The Saints will not win everygame this year but... I don't think it will be Miami that beat them. The wildcat is based on the power I formation and I consider it to be a trick play.,.. Hairy highschool type stuff. I say 35-28 Saints... Drew Brees does enough to keep Miami off the field..

Armando - Great information. I think the Phins will run on any team this year with success! The wildcat is becoming more dangerous every week. I would like to have the Falcons game back this year or at least take away a good portion of the turnovers away, but hey first game of the year is understandable. We just don't need to make that first game of the year, which we have not yet.



Doesn't it feel good to write an interesting article?

I wish you delivered like this more frequently.

Come on guys u know when we win we won't be called the best they will just say the saints had a bad day no one will give us credit y because people are scared of us and what we cab do and they can't! Look at who the saints played lions cone on lol the jets we beat them the bills gave then a run for there money and we killed them we just needed to get in click and now look at us we are a team to reckon with and every one knows it there just scared to admit it!!! NY Phin fan forever!!!!!

14-0 in the first quarter against the lions...i recall it being 14-0 against the giants in much quicker fashion......You fin's fans are in for a rude awakening. Only in the case that the wind is ablowin' can this score not get out of hand. The fin's are completely one dimensional and Henne is good but he is average under pressure, which he will see. The wildcat the saints have seen has been from teams who were playing from behind....Miami won't win this game...34-17. And J-Lo will walk her big ole booty back to the car with another loss on the books.

Armando is in a good state of mind for the last 10 days .every post he writes is great.he must be eating real well and having good quilty coffe at home .

What a bunch of Goobers. Week after week I see comments like these above from opposing team fans and every time it ends the same. The Saints not only win, but also make the other team look incompetent. Maybe this week will be different and maybe Hell will freeze over.

Carl - You are nuts! Why does the wildcat HAVE to score touchdowns. We can score other ways. Did you see the Jets game? A trick play is something you try to do to "trick" the other team. (Example: Line up in punt formation and run or pass instead of punting)

Miami lines up showing you that Ronnie Brown (or Ricky Williams or Pat White) is going to get the ball and run it down your throat. Now he may hand it to someone else or pass himself, but won't Henne and Brees just hand it off or pass on a play when the formation is not the wildcat?

So how again is the Wildcat a "trick play"? Miami is not tricking anyone. They are showing they are going to ram it down the defense and until you stop it we will run it!!!

Highschool type stuff? Come on. You should read up on the early NFL & try to repeat that comment. The widcat is smashmouth football. Man vs man, better guy wins. There is a reason why we run it with success, our Oline is good. Its about designing offense to meet your personnel.

You don't see us calling the Saints O haighschool do you? The shotgun was once called a gimmick, a fad. Its a formation just like the widcat.

In ANY formation, you can run right, middle, left. Throw right, middle, left. Like any defense going against any defense, your job is too stop it if you can. Problem is, not many teams can. None this year in fact.

The wildcat utilizes our talents, its not an advantage to other teams, THATS THE POINT! It's NOT the only thing we do either. As evidence, 3 of the 4 td's against the jets were what people would call "conventional" offense.

Alot of ppl have dismmised our formation, that other teams run with 0 success. That Jets D shut you guys down. We lit it up. Don't dismiss everything else we do, it might haunt you. You have to have the players to run it. It wouldn't shock me if Miami wins & beats down that Saints defense.

Carl - The Saints have played Detroit, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Jets and Giants. 3 of the games at home including the Giants game. Would they of played as well as they did if the game was at New York, I don't think so!! Just wait until your Saints come to the South Florida heat and LOSE!! Can't wait!

Phins87...you are right about what the media will say about the Phins when we win. Look at what ESPN had to say when we took down the so called "great" jets team!

Yeah and the Eagles game could've gone in their favor if not for mistakes right before halftime and right at the start of the 2nd half.
Plus, the Eagles just don't run enough. They ran some Wildcat with success, actually.

I think it will be a very good game and a game very comparable to the Colts game with only one difference...THE SCOREBOARD will favor the HOME TEAM!!

Armando for president.

The saints haven't trailed all season. They have blown out everyone. The wildcat will be a wrinkle, but you will soon be switching the channel once its 21-0 after the first quarter. This article fails to mention that the Wildcat doesn't help on defense, which is average at best. Could luck getting the credit you "deserve" though


Here's why I disagree with your run first assessment. First of all, those teams used used "all lost", most of them terribly. So you never immitate a losing template.

Secondly, the Saints would love to see us follow that template because it seemingly has played right into thier quick strike hands.

Here's what I suggest. The very best strategy maybe to run more play action and come out swinging. Seems no one's employed that strategy before. If we're the ones up by 10pts or more then the Saints O becomes much more predictable. We can force them to pass out of necessity not comfort. Once we get up by 10 pts or more in 2nd half, then we began to employ the time consuming ground game.

Also if Henne proves Jet game wasnt a fluke, he can become our best first half weapon. We need quick early points or our fate will be the same as others who succumbed to the Saints onslaught. We will definitely need to pass as well as run well to beat the Saints. We need to at least score 30pts to win and thats assumming our D can at least slow the Saints down.

I say the best recipe for victory is Henne needs at least a couple quick strike scores in the first half plush at least one long pound it out drive. Then in the 2nd half 2-3 pounded out td drives featuring the R&R Express.

Does anyone else agree with this assessment?


Exactly as I have been saying. New Orleans is in for a rude awakening. The Wildcat is gonna have saints players looking at each other and saying what the hell is going on here. Then after Ronnie and Ricky run wild the Orleans D will be heading to the sidelines huffing and puffing and begging for the oxygen mask.

Brees is gonna have alot of battered balls and he himself will be battered around. The Saints have a over-inflated Defense. They are all small on the Defensive side of the ball. tHEIR best player on the D-line is Sedrick Ellis and hes 6-1 305 and though hes a stud from the great USC Trojans. Hes definitley NOT a NT like Kris Jenkins 6-4 366lbs and with out a cog in the middle we are gonna have our way with this New Orleans D-line and then play action pass is going to be there all day! Dolphins will give Saints first loss of season.


did you just had a meatball sub ?
you eound smart today .thanks to Armando's post .

Two weeks to practice for this team(New Orleans), Losing is not a option here boys, anything but a "V" will not be tolerated...Who's with the Cuban????

No Dyingbrees
I dont agree that New Orleans is in for a long day.

The problem with run run run is that it leads to field goals, and sometimes nothing. But the real problem is we don't stop anyone in. The pass because of our safety and corner play (mainly safety). The saints will score too much, and we won't hold. The reason why we one the jets game is simple, our running game put our qb in play action and other admirable positions. But because of our stupid offensive strategy of keeping games within a score and not score every time u have the ball, we will be screwed, and our young qb will be against a defense all day that knows we will pass. Not good. Here's what we should think: we need to score a td every time we have the ball, however the defense let's us, run or pass. And we need to pressure brews with blitzes and not bite on play action.

Great job Mando. I was wondering what those stats were because it's been pretty obvious other teams have had to abandon the run. With that said, I still don't see any way we win on Sunday. Our DB'S haven't proven they can handle anyone yet and our corners are young and unproven except for Allen who has struggled so far. That means points through the air and even if we control the T.O.P the end result is going to look a lot like the Indy game I'm afraid. Can't get excited about this one when our dbs give up huge passing plays EVERY SINGLE GAME and now they're going against Brees. Good luck with that one. And when they get ahead Henne will have to pass to catch up and that takes our play action out of the picture. They will know our young QB has to throw and they will make him pay. And then all the Henne haters will be in here saying 'see, I told you he was a bust'. That's what I'm looking forward to on Sunday because we all need a good laugh now and then. But PLEASE GOD let them win!

QUESTION FOR Dolphins4life;

how thw Nrees will be battared w/our sucked defense ?

Saints D line is going BACKWARD all game long and we will win this game because the Saints D is over inflated.

What people don't realize is that when that Saints D has a comforable lead the pin their ears back on D and get after the QB and Sharper has been playing center field and coming up with INT's off of long throws. Thats not gonna happen this game the wildcat will give them hell and set up Sharper to play in the box. Ginn and Camarillo should have some open looks and we will take advantage. Watch they will have to put eight in the box and thats gonna set Henne up real good. They can't stop our running game.

I Have the perfect game plan... Injure drew the 1st series, then lets see if they're all that...

Our defense is not bad they are young in the defensive backfield and will make some plays and hopefully one of the rookies will take one to the house.
But if you notice G-Wil is tackling better and our run D is good. Like the O-line of the Dolphins we have new players there and it's taken a little longer to build this unit, but I see us getting better every game.

But the key to the whole game is the dolphins having the ball on offense and holding it for long drives and scoring. This wont be like the Inndie game when the Dolphins had the ball for 40 plus min and the defense just gave up big play after big play. The differnce is that our Defense is better how much we will see but we have the play makers on defense to get the job done now its time that our defense make a statement and make plays.

Let's hope Sparono's after game presser is nothing like Dennis Green's after game presser.



You wanna crown their ass? Then crown em! But they are who we thought they were.

Sorry guys, we need to keep Brees on the sideline drinking gatorade and tweeting. Stopping Brees is like trying to stop Marino in his prime. We have to force some 3 and outs PLUS put Brees on his behind early and often.

This comes down to the defense getting better and making stops which they haven't done outside of the Buffalo game.


We're ranked 10th in total defense and the Saints are ranked 9th.

Saints have been winning games because they have a plus 9 turnover ratio. We control the ball then we limit Bree's. Chew up the clock and we limit Bree's. Run the ball and we limit Bree's. This game is all about keeping the ball out of Bree's hands.

We have to play mistake free football on Sunday.

I agree with Phins 87. We won't be respected by ESPN etc when we win cause it's easier to play 50 Excuses than for them to give us actual credit. Nobody thought we would win the first 3 games & when we lost it was "I told you so".We beat Buffalo and it didn't matter since they were hurt-even though they sacked Henne 6 times.We beat the Jets and they are still trying to excuse why they lost.A win over the Saints would silence the critics for at least 2 seconds and give the Fins a big confidence boost.I hope we can pull off the upset like in years past against challenging opponents.Go Fins!

I'd throw in a few of those Ronnie to Fasano passes too....Just to keep 'em thinkin'!

Good work, but...and I dearly hope I'm wrong, we may hhave to put it in the air first to keep them honest. Then again that hasn't worked against anyone else.

i expect the dolphins to blitz on first down and bring pressure early the saint s have no run game and brees has all day, do you guys reallt think that the saints oline cant block both jt and joey and wake ? look for them to use nate jones and the dbs with some dbs blitz this game isnt gona be as predictable as u think look at what our oline did to the blitzing jets. the saints havent seen a run game like ours watch for a heavy dose of the wildcat with pat white and henne play actioning sharper could get get ints if u have teams dropping back and ahve no run game like some one said earlier look for this to be a big day for our wideouts as well as the running backs. ginn has a 100 plus yards day.

look for 8 in the box and we are throwing strikes TDS !!

Just run the ball. We win. Wildcat wins it.

On d just tackle hard cover the deep middle and force Brees into sacks and mistakes.

The saints train in New Orleans in August. It is cooler in Miami now than their training camp. The Saints play well in the heat. Armando's stats, while interesting, are too small a sample. First, he just throws out the Lions game. Lol, not very scientific. The saints completely shut down Kevin Smith, a good back. So now his sample is 4 games. 4 games the saints won by an average of 22 points. If anything, the stats are skewed opposite of what Armando thinks. the saints allow long draws and hand offs in the second halfs of games, because it's in a prevent the final 20 minutes. Did you know the saints aren't the top passing offense? why? because in three of 5 games they did not even attempt a pass in the 4th quarter, though I think everyone agrees that they have the best passing attack. I'm just saying that you can make stats do anything. No one has had much of a running game against the saints this year. The saints held the ball almost the whole first quarter against the giants, further skewing the meaning of any such stats (the first drive alone was over 8 minutes). The Dolphins certainly won't "shred" them. The Wildcat could give them fits, but you can't trade fg's for td's with the saints (ask the giants). I look for it to be close initially, like the Bills game, then the saints pull away late...Good luck against all other nfc teams...

It's simple in my opinion. We play to our own strengths. Protect the ball. Ram it down their F'ing throats, and force Bree's into some mistakes.
I'd NEVER compare the guy to Marino. Never! Just the same, it's hard to stop the guy completely. You slow him down and force him to "beat himself".
We need field position. We need to protect the ball and we need to RUN, RUN, RUN.
Plain and simple, if we do, we WIN!

most football guys in cable TV are like donkeys .they love to follow where the wind blowing .they are in full mood calling sanchez a few names but when he was 3-0 he was the man.i tell you ,you don't one of these guys to marry your sister .


any kid in fourth grade would say what you said in your last post .of course Protect the ball bla bla.tell us some thing new .you may read dolphins4life to learn .

forget ball control, we need turnovers and td's in order to pull this one out, cuz their ain't no way drew brees is going to be quiet in this game. Our secondary is extremely young and very vulnerable to the big play(i.e. see every game this year). Blitzing is an absolute must in this game, even if drew gets rid of the ball fast, with ppl in his face it'll at the very least make him move around the pocket where he is more inclined to throw across his body which history says he ends up making most of his poor decisions.
That really is our best option, I think it'll be close but.....AINTS 31, FINS 23!!!hope i'm wrong!!!

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