« The grand possibilities of the Dolphins pass rush | Main | An update on Patrick Turner's progress »

Ronnie Brown better as he carries more

I remember travelling to Cartersville, Ga. in 2005 to do a story on Ronnie Brown and having his mom tell me she would wait in the tunnel for Tommy Tuberville after some Auburn games to ask the Auburn coach why he wasn't starting her son.

And Brown, learning of this, would ask his mom to refrain from doing such things because whatever the coach decided to do was fine by him.

Brown remains the same in that regard. The Dolphins ask him to run the ball 12 times, he'll do that. The Dolphins ask him to carry it 25 times, he'll gladly do that as well. And he will not complain, he will not second-guess.

But ask the statistics how to maximize Ronnie Brown and they scream, "GIVE HIM THE BALL MORE!"

And the Dolphins are doing precisely that so far this year. Last year, Brown carried the football 214 times. So far this year he's on pace to carry 288 times. That would be a 34.5 percent increase. (Note, I stink at math so if it's not really a 34 percent increase kindly correct me in the comment section, with an emphasis on kindly.)

There are some good reasons Brown is getting more use in 2009. Firstly, he is now further removed from his late 2007 knee surgery so he can withstand the strain of more work. Secondly, Brown produces better when he gets more work.

Notice I did not say he produces more. Any NFL running back will deliver more yards with more carries, which is producing more. But Brown is producing better, meaning his rushing average rises in games he gets the ball more often.

In the two games this year he's carried the ball 20 times or more, Brown is averaging 5.7 yards per carry. In the two games this year he's carried the ball fewer than 20 times, Brown is averaging 4.2 yards per carry.

That is not true of all running backs. Ricky Williams, for example, this season is averaging 4.4 yards per carry in games he gets the ball 15 times or more and is averaging 6.2 yards per carry in games he carries it fewer than 10 times.

The point is some running backs seem to thrive as they carry the ball more. Ronnie Brown so far this season is proving himself to be one of those.

And what does that suggest?

As offensive coordinator Dan Henning said a few weeks ago, "feed the stud." The Dolphins should continue to give Brown the football.