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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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That's good information Mando. Nice research.

Armandito.... I'm a fin fan so I hope they win but what you're saying is in fact that it isn't offense that will beat the Saints, or our run offense at least since teams have been able to run on them and lose anyway. Especially if we can run up and down the field yet fail to score.
It is our defense that has to win this game. Brees can do what a Manning did to us and that was score fast even with a small amount of time with the football in his hands. If our defense can't stop that pass, we're going to get screwed just like NYG did.

Nice breakdown Mando thanks! Now I'm pumped! As for Wilson, the only thing that will help him tackle better is moving him to a Pop Warner team!

So, why all this talk about Miami heat? It's not like we've never seen temps in the 80's here in New Orleans. And yes, games are in the dome, but training camp is outside and in the 90's with all the humidity you have there. Saints win the coin toss and continue the trend of never trailing a team this season.

And btw, I don't think 4th in the league for rushing can be intrepreted as "Saints have no rushing". TOTAL RUSHING YARDS 789; RUSHING (Plays-Average Yards) 174 - 4.5

stats can be shaped any which way. I keep hearing that Miamia is the no. 1 rushing offense? well, the saints are the no. 1 total offense. Advantage saints. Also, the saints defense is ranked higher than Miami's, even though the saints give up an amazing amount of garbage points (last week against NY, they had 3rd stringers on D for the 4th quarter).
I guess the question for Armando is if he expects the saints to give up the same rushing average in the first quarter (although he discounts the Lions game to help his stats, not a scientifically acceptable method), why doesn't he also presume the saints will score as much as they have been averaging. That's the problem with stats, especially after only 5 games. Here's a stat, the saints are on pace to score more points than any team in history and have played 3 defenses in the top 11, including no. 1 and no. 4. And as parcells used to say, you're as good as your record. The Phins are 2-3. That's not to say they can't win, and the Wildcat is certainly an odd wrinkle, but the stats favor the saints who have won more games and scored more points and gained more total yards and given up less total yards, and average scoring a ton of points in the first half...good luck against all other nfc teams...

46-17 Saints. Yes, another 40 burger.

The Aints have already won their 5 games this season, they will finish the way they usually do 5-11, this is the start of their downfall.

lets bring up a new wrinkle that i really believe is going to come forward in the wildcat, i hearing r@r , pat white, and henne, i think N.O. is going to be really surprised when they see thigpen coming in also in the wildcat, talk about really stretching the field then, sorry but i think thigpen is the new wrinkle that will show up against N.O., and the fields the limit with his arm and experience, fins win 31 -21

Dolphins 31 - Saints 24

Drew will sit on the bench and hear the thunder Ricky and Ronnie will be making running the ball all over their D, and when Drew gets in the game he will sit hes as- on the grass after the relentless preasure Taylor,Porter&wake will bring.

Dolphins 73 saints 10

lol , i dont think it will be that bad, would be nice though.

It won't matter when the Saints score their first 3 times with the ball, and we get a field goal with our first possesion and nothing thereafter. It will be 21-3 Saints in the first quarter, and we'll be screwed.

Great blog. This is very informative. Thanks for relaying the stats to us and shedding some light on the Saints 5th ranked rush defense. I doubt they have seen anything like the Fins run game before.

I'm confiedent Fins will be dominant on the ground. The big question is whether the BYE week helped out the pass defense.


The Saints are a better team than Miami period! Drew Brees and crew will tear that field up on Sunday. Greg Williams has our D prepared for the Wildcat...our boys are not taking this game lightly by any means...they don't take any game lightly! ESPN is giving our boys props for the simple fact that they deserve them! You look at last weeks game...Eli is a hometown boy, so is Brandon Jacobs...look what we did to them, so do you really think we care about Ricky Williams...Yall got our sloppy seconds! He is probably still traunatized from Ditka putting him in a wedding dress...lol! Get ready "Fin Fans" The saints are coming...and yall can't stop us!!! WHO DAT BABBBBYYYY GEAUX SAINTS!!!!!

Why isn't anyone talking about how close we played Peyton Manning and his explosive statistical machine? I realize the Saints are the scariest team we'll face this year. However, Armando brought up great points about our Wildcat and it's inevitable success. I say: "be a homer, be stubborn and root our Dolphins on. Also, hopefully Mr. Breed will get his preparation H ready because he's gonna be sitting on his butt for a while.

well, the saints offense has looked bad twice this year. against buffalo and the jets. the afc in general is MUCH stronger than the nfc. the problem was the jets and bills couldn't score. the fins averaged 35 points against those 2 teams. brees had zero yes zero TD'S in those games. i see the fins winning this game. they will win because of the run, and shutting down the saints run. the saints will be one dimensional and the pass rush will be intense. miami will be so good running the ball that henne will hit on some home runs off the play action. fins 38 saints 24

the jets thought they could stop the wildcat too. didn't happen. brees had 0 td's versus the jets, we put 38 on them. saints defense scored the points in the jets game. saints vs bills, 0 td's 172 yards passing, 27 points. we destroyed the bills. face the fact that the afc is head and shoulders above the nfc. the saints will lose to the ther 2 afc teams they play, the fins, and the patriots. if sanchez wasn't so crappy you would have lost to the jets. the bills are horrible and brees sucked. he will suck again this week.

So, teams run the ball well in the early going against the Saints. So, if that works so well, how do then end up behind by so much that they HAVE to start throwing? We give up lots of yards, but we ALSO create turnovers. We lead the NFL in takeaways and are +9 in turnover ratio, which also leads the league. So, you gain 8 yards a play for 7 plays, move it 56 yards, then we intercept or cause a fumble. The stats look good, but we still win. Get it?

The catch is, the Saints KNOW that the Dolphins can basically only run the ball when Henne is not behind center. And don't bother with the one completion Brown had last week to Fasano. When in the Wildcat, look for the Saints to single-cover the WRs, go nickel or even add a 4th LB, run-blitz and hold their lanes. Basically, they will dare the Dolphins to throw the ball and welcome it when they do. The other disadvantage the Dolphins face is, it typically takes more plays to score in the Wildcat. More plays = more opportunities for turnovers by the defense (+9 in takeaways). And, it is more difficult to catch up if they get behind. Prediction:
Saints 34-Dolphins 17.

I dont know about that but maybe a few tds with ronniw

you can add/delete stats all day to make them say what you want...like the physics equation that has a hippo hanging over a cliff,suspended by his tail wrapped aroud a blade of grass....like a miami victory,possible but highly unlikely

Stupid Henning...your numbers are wrong...the saints give up only 3.8 yards per carry rushing.

Bernardo -- I think you are the only fins fan that gets it.

Your running game is not the key to winning against the Saints, neither is time of possession if you are not scoring.

I said it before...the Saints score and they rack up points. If the fins do not stop Saints O, then they will lose and they will lose by 14 or more. Yes, it will be just like the Giants, if not worse.

I'm sure the Dolphin coaches are well aware of what needs to be done...but the question is can they pull off stopping Drew. It can be done...Buffulo and the Jets did a very good job at shutting down Drew. If I were the fins coach, I'd try to replicate what they did....but I don't think the fins D is as good.

Anyway, See you guys Sunday!


BTW...we got a little WHODEMCATS for your WILDCAT...after the game you guys will be asking: WHODEMCATS STOPED OUR WILDCAT? I SAY WHODEMCATS?

LMFAO! While this idiot spoon feeds you Dolphin fans half truths I'll give you what he didn't. Nobody can just run the ball without throwing here and there. So with that said do your own homework and find out just what happens when you do pass the ball...I'll give you a hint,very bad things for the opposing offense facing the Saints.

Let's be honest here, the only reason your team even runs the wildcat is to cover up it's lackluster offense. In short your offenses sucks.

So just like the rest of the teams the Saints have faced, and believe me 2 or 3 of them are better than the Dolphins, you'll end up on the losing end and coming up with all sorts of excuses. Just ask the rest of the fans from your division.

To the moron who thinks humidity could stop the Saints...LOL! Have you ever been to N.O.? I'm guessing not because it gets no humid anywhere in the U.S. as much as it does here. News flash for you buddy, we have the same weather patterns...what an idiot!

This just in...Dolphins will be .500 after this weekend.

keeping the ball and running it on someone doesn't mean diddly. just look at the miami colts game.

So the fins will run, run, run. Tell us something the Saints don't know. Can you say: one-dimensional?

Mark Twain said, "If you believe in statistics, then walk across the Mississippi River, it only averages four feet deep!"

Mark Twain also said of a fellow, "He uses statistics like a drunk uses a light pole - for support and not illumination!"

Great analysis, Armando. Just hope they stop the game after the first quarter and the Dolphins might win.

Good luck with that. All of the assumptions here are that your defense actually stops the Saints from scoring. If you're behind 2 TD's and you don't abandon the run you'll loose by at least 3 TD's!

Mmmmmm Mahi mahi for SUnday!

The dolphins are 2-3, and they are talking like they are a great team. The Saints have yet to trail in a game! Not once! It might be a tough game, for about a half. The Dolphins may have success running the ball, and their defense may stop the run. But their weakness is the Saints strength. That secondary will not even slow down Brees. The Saints will roll to 6-0

Saints will struggle. Our new defensive style is not suited for a team like Miami. The heat will NOT be an issue. N.O. is not a wintry place. If Miami D crowds the line and pops the receivers coming off the line, fins win but if saints can run, saints win.

The problem is... no offense that has faced The Saints has had the ball with the score being tied this season. The Saints have scored on every first possession this season and they've received the ball first in every game, and they've never trailed. So where did these stats come from, last season? Will Miami be running the ball when they are down by 14 or 21? I don't think so.

I guess not. take out Rickys one long run and the fins had a 2.3 ypc average. Even counting it, the Saints had more rushing yards and a higher ypc...

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