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Third-and-short belongs to the Miami Dolphins

This entire season you've heard coach Tony Sparano took about the need to get "chunk yardage," because the Dolphins want, indeed, need more big plays.

But you've not heard him complain too much about short yardage.


Because the Dolphins so far this year are the NFL's best short-yardage team and because Ronnie Brown is one of the NFL's most accomplished short-yardage backs.

According to stats compiled by the NFL, the Dolphins have the league's highest third-down conversion percentage when there are 2 or fewer yards to go for a first down. The Dolphins have faced 20 such situations this year and converted 17 times. (Getting out the trusty Salguero protractor and figuring out the sine and cosine here and, voila, that's an 85 percent conversion rate.)

The next best team in similar situations is Indianapolis, which has converted 80 percent of those third-and-short situations.





Miami Dolphins




Indianapolis Colts




Tampa Bay Buccaneers




Minnesota Vikings




Green Bay Packers




It stands to reason that the Dolphins would be good at picking up the tough yards on the money down if they have tough people up front. And they do. Miami's $156 million offensive line is returning good dividends on the team's investment in this category.

But Brown also has a lot to do with the success.

Going back to the 2000 season, Brown is the third-best third-and-two or fewer RB in the NFL. And he's in pretty impressive company, as the chart confirms.





Joseph Addai, Colts




Adrian Peterson, Vikings




Ronnie Brown, Dolphins




Larry Johnson, Chiefs




Brad Hoover, Panthers




So what does this all mean?

Basically these facts are important for an offense hoping to stay on the field and control the ball and the clock. You don't win the third-and-short situations, you don't win too many games unless you have a dynamic and explosive offense.

And these statistics are of particular importance this week because, with the Saints game Sunday, one way Miami can win the game is to shorten the game by keeping the football. If the Dolphins have the ball, the Saints don't.

If the Dolphins extend drives by successfully converting third-and-short, they keep the ball.

Great how that works, isn't it?

[THURSDAY PRACTICE UPDATE: As you might have noticed over there <--- on the twitter feed, I've tweeted that Matt Roth, fresh off his first day of practice Wednesday, is sitting out practice today. He was at practice but his left ankle was taped and he was limping. Guess there is now zero doubt about whether he plays Sunday or not.]


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Lousaka Polite is also a great short yardage back and often called on to pick up a third and short run for the first down.

This is also cudos to the Line Dolphins have established last year and half.

Can't wait for game day.

keep the ball AND TDs, not FGs.

Loooooooouuuuuu !

I was wondering why they even starting using Polite on short yardage situations because Ronnie is so automatic. Even times when he should be stopped short of the 1st down, he finds a way to get it. Lou's good, too, but if the Dolphins have a 4th and 1 with a minute left in the SB and they need to convert, I want Ronnie getting the ball. He's money.

I love Ronnie and what he does but in these situations its all about Lou. This guy has been automatic since being picked up last season.

Can you imagine the talk in huddle:

HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!!

How do the phins do on 3rd and 5 or more to go?

I'm soooo anxious... can't wait for the game!! Go Dolphins!!

Lousaka is a beast!! Hope he keeps hitting defenders the way he did against the Jets... Go Lou!!!! Lou!!!!!

FEED RONNIE AND RICKY THE ROCK!!! That's all the Dolphins gotta do. Control the clock, own the trenches, and then burn 'em deep with some play-action bombs here and there. Do that, and the Dolphins will be a tough out for anyone, including the Saints this weekend.

When I read the title of this article, i figured it would be all about Polite. I was shocked to find out he wasn't even mentioned.

Jeff, I was wondering the same thing. What impresses me is that they not only lead the league on 3rd and short but look at the attempts. Its more than any of the teams that are in the top five. You would think with more attempts the lower the percentage would be.

Ah but you gotta be in 3rd and Short to benefit from this high conversion percentage.

I would love to know the average gain on 1st down as this is ultimately were it all starts from, putting yourselves in shorter distances to go on 2nd and 3rd down, for it makes the defense honour the entire playbook, rather than 3rd and Long you know its either a pass or a draw/screen type. Allows the defense to pin its ears back and go after the QB.

Way to much math for me in that article!

What are the conversion stats for Lousaka? He seems automatic

Miami leads the league in 3rd down conversions overall, where's the honorable mention

Providing goooood information. With info like that Tony Reali will be calling for an appearance on Around The Horn.

Sunday's forcast is 87 degrees with rain. Advantage Rick & Ron!

We are so gonna get our butts kicked. People are delusional. Shorten the game? What will that help? We saw this with Indy. It doesn't matter if they only get the ball 5 times in a game if they score a TD every time. Our problem is not offense, it's defense.

I'm getting scared that we're lavishing so much attention on the Ronnie and Ricky show that we're not following and pushing our team on what is needed. Better pass rushing and cleaner, more disciplined DB coverage. Reminds me of the Marino era- everyone was enamored with the offense, but the defense went to pot... with our old buddy Tom Olivi-dolt-i.

Armando, can you please find out what our team is doing to improve our defense?

I'm gonna say it one more time (said it on A-mans last post)If brees is not picking his ass off the ground about everytime he drops back to pass it will be over by halftime.I hope the D steps up this week,but it's not the end of the season.

Polite does what he's asked. Its is the system. If you notice, they only run one play for him and it is the quick hitter where the tailback looks like he's going on a pitch and then the qb spins and hands to the fb while the d is reacting to the deep back. That is just good complimentary play calling that works because of the success of the tailbacks. Good counter play to run off of the tendency and good execution. Just dont try to make him out to be #39.

blitz brees blind side. didn't they lose their left tackle? stick smith on colston and davis on moore. shockey might do some damage but i don't think he will dominate. ronnie and ricky will run all over the saints and henne and ginn should be able to hook up deep a few times.

who stick shockey? He won't do damage? u see him last week? he look pretty good, pretty, pretty good.

George has a point........the "INdy formula" only goes so far, and ultimately it requires folks like Gibril Wilson & his ilk to actually make a play every so often. I hope to high heaven the coaching staff has focused on the pass defense......btw, watching R. Hill thrive in Denver makes me wish we had kept him....remember that last year his insertion into the starting lineup greatly helped the turnaround.

not too sure who will stick him. maybe crowder if healthy if not its not great looking matchup i admit .

H E L P just looked at the lineup of games on for my area. Was hoping to see the DOLPHINS, got Atlanta Dallas @ 4:00. No late game for me on the AFC channel, I'm in the Tampa area. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?????? Maybe power house Tampa Bay will give us a 1:00 present and beat the Pats across the pond.

Mando, didn't that other RB on our roster (some guy named Williams... ;> ) convert something like 90% of his 3rd and 1s from 2002 through 2003? I'd be interested in seeing those stats too.

I hate all these people that come on her and talk like Miami is going to get crushed. Fine New Orleans is a top 3 team in the league as we speak. But you know what? Miami is a top 10 team in the league and does things that should concern New Orleans as well. Keep your negativity for a Jets blog or even better, become Jets fans.

NY Jets, where losing is not only expected, it's a birthright.

I agree you have to give Lousaka Polite a lot of credit on these short yardage plays.

Can you toss in Lou's 4th and less then 2 yrd conversion percentage? it has to be in the 80's 90's....up the middle...haha

Dolphins - 28
Saints - 17

sorry Mark in Toronto, but it's not just me who's scared.......no one nationally gives the Fins a chance......

I insist, one key could be align Tony McDaniel aside from Jason Ferguson, is very hard to sack Drew Brees, but making him feel uncomfortable leads to mistakes.

10-6 looks easy right now, two "upsets"; one against the Aint's and one against the Steelers and were 12-4....not bad...oh if it were only that simple

Thresher, good lord, it should not be that hard to an establishment that carries the game WITH audio-you're in FL, this is a particularly large game- only prob I can now think of is that you might be 12 w buc fan parents

Another recommendation, when the dolphins have the ball inside their opponents 10 yardline, they should almost always lineup in the wildcat formation. The opposition does not know how to line up against this formation...The plays we have ran it so far inside the 10 have been VERY effective.

Ty for your response genothefox i was thinking more along the lines of a internet feed. As for the 12 year old and parent comments if u think that was clever then good for u. Your screen name tells alot about who u are. Again thanks for your intelligent response. I STILL NEED HELP.

punch saints in the mouth with Ronnie the Rabid Beast!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't forget Lousaka!


I think the best you can do is fine a sports bar that will televise it. If you have Direct TV, you can order their NFL package. It's expensive, but since you're out of blackout range it will guarantee that you will be able to watch every game.

once dolphins wins vs saints;

1-all the tv cable donkeys will start kissing the fins azzz
2-jets will crash faster
3-henne's confidence will stay w/him for long time to come .
4-the fins DL will come back to life.
5-the tuna will end his diet .

6-carlito won't go to sleep for 2 days .


haha, I know you right about number 6!

Based on this article we just need to manage or down and distance to keep 3rd down to 2 or less and we should win. Or maybe better, score more points than the other team. I have noticed a trend that when that happens, teams win 100% of the time.

Its not really sleep any way when you that drunk

Lou's sak is polite.. Teabag anyone?

Thanks datajack, just bought a new boat can't afford it. I do remember reading on this blog last year someone giving out a website. I believe it was a camfeed off a tv.

I just updated this post with a Thursday practice update. Bad news for Matt Roth.

One thing about the Indy game and controlling the clock is that we now have a QB with a strong arm.That might make a difference against the Saints.

Thresher -
I watch at the local bar - but I am in New Mexico, so no chance of seeing the games (unless Nationally televised, of course). If I can't make it to the bar, then I watch online FOR FREE at www.justin.tv. The feeds aren't always the best, but you get what you pay for at times, huh? They show ALMOST all the games. It is like Sunday Ticket for free.

Go Phins!!!

Did not think he was gonna play anyway.How about news on turner?

Wow thresher, take some lithium, are u not on here much? It's a pretty lighthearted blog

You can't go back to the 2000 season...ronnie brown wasn't in the NFL back in 2000

Mando, I just read on cbs sportsline that roth is sidelined again by an injury. What's the scoop?

There's some things I'm liking about the upcoming game; we are clearly the underdogs (Coach can make that work for us), we've had the bye to prepare, we're healthier, and NO has to come to our HOUSE! Having said that, NO also scares the shizzle out of me. But we knew the schedule would be hard, and if we can avoid playing like we're snake-bit while keeping it close, it should be a great game. Hopefully our Fins still have a few more surprises up their sleeves.

Tim Graham from ESPN posted this same exact article with the only difference being the rearranging or rewording of some words. Now my gut is telling me that Tim browsed on over here and swiped the info from this article and posted it on ESPN as his own, like he came up with this whole idea of lets post info on who has the best 3rd down and short conversions. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case, since it is his job to get info on every AFC East team. If he did get the info here, my only issue is most of the time he will credit those from where he got the info from. Not post it like he was the brain behind the idea. So I guess my question is who is ripping off who here?

Its all about converting 3rd downs on Offense and getting off the field on Defense on 3rd down.
This is our week - Saints come back down to earth - Earth to Saints? Earth to Saints? Come in Saints?

Jax,I saw the article and asked myself the same thing.I got a kick out of all the patsie fans talking like the Dolphins are nothing while they're on their way to another undefeated season.

roth......the weirdness continues

Seriously, if you live within driving distance of the stadium this week, GO TO THE GAME! The mroe energy from the stands, the harder it will be for the Saints. STOP TALKING AND START DOING, GO TO THE GAME THIS WEEK! I'll be in the Meadowlands next week for the sweep!

It will take a miracle on the order of beating the Bears on MNF, or the Giants beating NE in the SB for us to even come within 3 touchdowns of the Saints. Accept that we will lose this one to a superior team, and focus your energy on the inferior Jets and Pats (although I'm not sure about the Pats inferiority at the moment).

FINS - 38

Here's the kicker - The Fins secondary gets two picks and the line recovers 1 fumble!

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