There is much credit and flattery and regard for the Dolphins running game now because having the NFL's No. 1 rated running game is a mountainous fact over which no criticism can climb.
The Dolphins average 177 rushing yards per game. Last year the Giants finished as the NFL's best rushing team while averaging 157.4 rushing yards per game.
So this rushing attack is transcendentally good.
But allow me add a couple of more bouquets: Through five games Ronnie Brown must be considered the NFL's best downhill running back, bar none. Yes Adrian Peterson is better all around, but facemask-to-facemask against a defender and running him over, Brown is superior right now.
And the Miami offensive line is a hard-charging, hard-fighting bunch that are, well, hard to stop.
So where do we go from here?
Well, how about if the best get better?
Coach Tony Sparano believes they can do it.
“I think it can be better, I really do," Sparano said Thursday when I asked him his opinion on the matter. "And this is the knit-picky offensive line dope in me. Where you’re out there and you’re just beating – you watch the film and you see us not finish some things, whether that be a receiver on the perimeter making a block, whether that’s in second level when we hit the linebacker but we don’t finish, so the linebacker comes off of us and makes the play for five yards. Now you go to four yards, instead of you finish, and maybe it’s an 8-yard play.
"We left some things out there and I’ve told how impressed I’ve been with the two running backs right now, but just run reads, simple run reads, not bouncing a play that needs to stay inside, those type of things [can get better]. So can it get better? Yeah, it sure can. And those are the details that we’re trying to bang home. I keep telling them: We need to be as greedy as we can in that phase of the game. I don’t care how we get the yards, if there’s three more out there we need to get them, and I think they’re starting to figure that out.”
And as the running game improves, as I believe it will, the passing game will improve. The Dolphins employ the play-action pass about as often as any NFL team. That works best when the linebacker respects the run. When the linebacker fears the run, play-action can be devastating.
"You’re going to have to prove to people that you can run the football and I think that’s happened," Sparano said. "Now all of a sudden, these play action things are starting to take place where we are getting bites out of linebackers and the safety is freezing a little bit, and we’re able to get down the field.
"Those things are happening and people have to pay attention to it one way or the other. In other words, you can’t ignore the run with the way we’ve run the ball right now. One time it might be an accident, two times it might be an accident. I don’t think after five games right now, anybody can look and say it’s an accident what’s going on up there right now with the way we’re running the ball.”
Of course, quarterback Chad Henne has to do good work to make the play-action work, but I think we saw he's capable of doing that Monday night against the Jets. His performance was good enough to inspire songs.
As you will now witness.