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Ricky Williams rolling as LT declines

LaDainian Tomlinson was released by the San Diego Chargers a little while ago.

And that got me to thinking. Tomlinson, 30, will be looking for a new team in his 10th NFL season. His statistics the past two seasons suggest he is a diminished player, a running back whose explosion and speed have apparently left him.

I guess 2,880 career carries takes a toll.

And that suggests that it is carries, not years, that diminish a running back.

I present as exhibit A, Ricky Williams. He is two years older than Tomlinson. And yet in 2009, while Tomlinson slowed to a crawl, Williams had a renaissance year with 1,121 yards on 241 carries. That's a 4.7 average at age 32 compared to Tomlinson's 3.3 yard per carry average at age 30.

So how does Ricky do it? Is it the veggie diet? The yoga? Or is it simply fewer career carries?

Williams has only 2,164 career rushes, thanks in large part to having played only one game in 2006-2007 and having missed 2004 altogether.

Clearly, the older player in this comparison is not nearly as physically worn as the younger.

But my concern is not the last 2,164 carries by Williams but rather the next 300-500.

You see, if Williams has indeed benefitted from his limited use since 2003 and thus has maintained a rushing average of 4.4 yards per carry in his last 575 carries spanning four seasons, the question arises, "How much longer can he keep it up?"

Tomlinson began his decline at around 2,300 carries. In fact, after his 2,365th carry he had only eight games out of a possible 30 in which he averaged 4.0 yards per carry or more.

Williams is about one season from reaching his 2,300th carry -- assuming he continues sharing caries with Ronnie Brown. Would his declined begin then, at age 33?

No one knows. But it is a fair question to consider.

Also consider this: Williams is signed through 2010 but not beyond. He is on record stating this will be his final season. But we all know Williams is more than capable of changing his mind.

The question is would the Dolphins be wise to start planning for life after Ricky Williams now, knowing he's still running like he did in his prime? Or can this wait another year and maybe another 200 carries?

Follow me on twitter so that I can feel like what I say in cyberspace actually matters when we all know it does not. 

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Always prepare for the future...

Haven't been much of a Ricky fan since we got Brown anyway. Fumbles too much...Proved that again last this year

I say wait another year. For one, they have Brown for another year at least, as well as Lex Hilliard, who I think showed a lot of promise as at least a 2nd stringer.
Second, I'd disagree that the LT - Williams comparison is really meaningful. LT has had several injuries over the past few years (I won't try to cite details b/c I don't have time to look them up, so correct me if I'm wrong), while Williams has been a perennial conditioning freak and has only (again to my recollection) had the weird pectoral injury when he was stepped on in Pittsburgh. Of course, Williams has said he only plans on playing for one more year. I think he'll be fine next year.

Not a priority at all!! We are fine thru this year and there might not even be football in 2011...so let's concentrate on what REALLY needs to be fixed at that is our Defense!!

More concerned about Brown the Ricky.

Hey Armando

Don't overlook the impact of the offensive line. It doesn't matter how good you are, without adequate blocking - you are going nowhere.

Look at Shaun Alexander. He declined at around 1,900-2,000. Also what toll will it take on smallish Chris Johnson who had 358 attempts last year to lead the league.

Ricky is fine for what we need him for...next year. After that it is up to him because he wont be here.

Actually, Ricky's "retirement" and other issues have probably prolonged his career. The 2nd half of last season is probbaly the first time he's gotten 20 carries per game regularly since the Wannstedt years. The way Wannstedt was overusing him, one more season and his acareer woudl have been near an end.

How many carries does anyone think Bong Pipe will actually have in 2010? What will his role be? I guess that depends on how the Phins draft, the health of RB, and which one of the remaining backs is on the roster come week 1. I would hope that Lex is part of the program, he fit in well to his role as the 3rd down-blocker-reciever. Ricky was great last year, I'm just not sure how he will be used this year.

Mando

You always have to plan ahead!! That being said the Phins should be "planning" to address this after next season!! And like bobbyd12 said .. there may not be any football in 2011!! Even thou I seriously doubt the owners and players will just hold out with soooooooo much cash to be made!!! We'll see.

run ricky run

bobby12,

When you say fix the Def!!! Are you saying the Fins should not draft ANY offensive players at all in the draft? Off FA's?

If so, what round can they get them in to be still in your mode of "concentrating on the def"? How many Offensive picks out of 9 or 10 draft picks would make it too Off oriented?

Just getting your take,

Cheers,

Damn Rob,

Stickin your hand in the fire?

Po, you're right about Brown. Ricky's got another year in him for sure.

BTW Soiled, That crack about Mando wanting to be more popular than Jesus and the Beatles was hilarious.

Joe,

We have Cobbs too. RB in not pressing.

Brown needs to finish a season.....

you are a funny donkey .

LB and FS are pressing, NT can wait one more year IMO.

Po,

What fire?

Asking booby12 about his own thoughts regarding the amount of offensive players he personally would tolerate?

Seems fair enough on a blog about Fins football. No swear words...I should be golden.

Cheers,

PO, have to disagree with u on NT, both Nolan and Sprano have both made it clear that NT is the most important key to the 3-4... U saw the drop-off when Fergie got hurt, all the great LBs in the NFL won't help if that NT isn't solid plus there might not be a worthy NT next year... There is an abundance of quality NT this draft so we need to take one...As far as FS goes, I'm really of the belief that Clemons is the man and will be given the opportunity to fill that spot..

Understood B12,

Just hoping Ferg can make it one more year. If he can’t, we got issues.

If we can get a NT for a good value, sure take em. Don’t want to make a reach for NT, would rather use a 1st round pick on one.(next year)

Like Dan Williams, but leery of Tennessee Players.

Cody = Fat Boy

I agree bobby12.NT should be first.

Po,

With all the misrepresentation of things "I supposedly said?"

I had said, in very plain English, that I like quite a number of players in the first round over McClain...in order they would be...

Graham
Spiller
Williams
Dez

Since I only get one choice and 1 of those players would be there then that means if I was to get McClain it would HAVE to be in the 2nd round.

I also went on to say that some team would draft him in the 1st most likely so I would not have to worry about him.

Then (The McClain Posse) decides to spout off about how I said he would be taken in the 2nd round when clearly I said "I would chose other players in the 1st".

Simple as that. I am NOT trying to fire anyone up and if they want to root for MClain so be it. Last I checked our very own blog master Armando S as well as others and myself are of the same opinion, at least about Graham. The difference is he doesn't get called a boat load of names for his opinions.

I am not inciting others or calling people out for their picks. Just the same they should not mind debating / defending their opinions on a Fins blog right?

Cheers,

Really hope you are right about Clemons though.

bobbyd12,

I agree regarding Clemons. Instead of Parcells potentially bringing in Antrell Rolle for alot of dosh,i'd love to see Clemons given a chance.

There are rumours that Denver will trade Brandon Marshall for a 2nd rounder. Before people start criticizing me for bringing this up,i'm not for 1 minute saying we should go for it,i'm just saying Denvers asking price is'nt as much as first thought and could be interesting considering Parcells is maybe thinking of enquiring about giving up a 3rd for Boldin...

Stick to your guns Rob, I take no issue....

Armando,
The Cardinals have 3 players hitting the market, all of them play in position that the Dolphins have needs for WR, FS, OLB.
Then Pitt might not place the tag on Casey Hampton , and Pro Football Talk is reporting that the Defending Champs are not placing the Tag on Sharper.
What are the Dolphins' chances of getting some of these players or any of them?

Right on Po!

Cheers bro,

Its gotta be the pretzels

Brandon Graham caused 0 turnovers in his 4 years in college
Rolando McClain caused 6 turnovers in his 3 years in college

I do like McClain, think it would be a good pick. He has smarts, a nose for the ball and a love of the game.

Brandon Graham caused 16 fumbles in 4 years in college ;

Mcclain is a master and a great football mind .

Carlito,

Great point! Those numbers support more turnovers.

Typically don't ILBs have more opportunity for turnovers? I mean if a DE is coming around the horn many times he does the stripping and his fellow Defensive mates get the ball on the recovery right?

I know the clips show one of those 6 McClain Int's where the Off guy is laying on his back fumbling it and serves it up to McClain. You know the one I am talking about right?

Just wondering what you think man,

Cheers,

right on ROB IN OC .

The dolphins have to hold out for one more year without a new rb for 2 reasons one is the fact with Cobb , polite , hilliard , brown , and williams you find me room to put him in , also after this year Williams will most Likly retire and brown would be a free agent unless we resign which I doubt because his asking price is gonna be high money

No thanks to Brandon Marshall.He is alot like T.O.And that means TROUBLE,TROUBLE,TROUBLE.

Much like fish etc., perhaps Ricky has been preserved by smoke...

Correct me if I’m wrong but hasn’t Mando said he prefers Graham over McClain because he sees OLB as the bigger need and feels Graham is worthy of the #12 pick? Not because he doesn’t think McClain isn’t as good as advertised.

Rob,

I think that McClain is the type of player that is naturally disruptive to the offense. If you are an edge rusher DE or OLB depending on the scheme, I would like to think that you would create some fumbles on sacks and out side running plays or pick off some passes in the flat. JT is a great example of a turnover causing DE/OLB. I think Graham is a good player, a reach at 12, but will still be productive in the NFL, most likely in a 4-3 scheme. I'm just trying to point out a red flag that no one has brought up. O turnovers caused in a college career worries me.

carlito,

Just to be absolutely clear I am NOT saying that MCClain didn't do anything in college to merit you liking him and wanting him on the Fins.

In my choice of Graham I am filling what I feel is a bigger need than ILB with what I think is a better player. I am NOT saying if you like McClain you are crazy.

The fact that I have not hopped on the McClain wagon should not disturb you in the least as after you viewed some of Graham's vids you stayed pat with McClain. I get that. Being convicted about what your see and know are true are paramount to actually making a choice come draft time.

Cheers,

Nevermind Rob, I see that you included that little blurb "at least about Graham"

Good point Joe about the 16 fumbles caused by Graham!

Cheers,

ALWAYS,

Parcells has been known to love OLBs.

He has 1 more good yr and then he is done just like he said. We should think about drafting a RB at some point over the next 2 yrs maybe 2. I like Ricky and think he had a very good yr, he looked fast and powerful (needs to clean up the fumbles however).

I AM ALWAYS,

:) Good catch bud.

Cheers,

Without question Po. I don't pretend to know what Parcells is going to do but his track record is something to take into consideration. And I stay away from the McClain/Graham argument because I've seen it go nowhere. I'm on record as stating I feel ILB is a bigger need than OLB but I think we are going to get a good player whichever way they decide to go.

I Am Always,

How is it you see ILB a bigger need than OLB with the departure of Roth and JT playing out of position?

If we are going OLB's with huge upside but are a little bit of a project I would rather go with Pierre-Paul over Graham. But, personally I would prefer a player that can be inserted into the system with as little difficulty as possible (McClain).

Smart guy ALWAYS In regards to the McClain/Graham argument .....

I feel ILB is a better Value @ 12.

Trade down and get a OLB or NT.

carlito,

Your chart graph reflecting turnovers is strictly turnovers they have personally coralled right?

I have seen Graham cause turnovers on film by watching actual game footage.

Would you like me to round up video game footage and let you see? If it doesn't matter to you in the least I will not bother you with it.

Again, I see you like McClain so I am not trying to beat you into a Graham choice as that is a forgone conclusion...McClain gets the nod for you.

Cheers,

Well I don't think Pierre-Paul will be available and what is the thought of trading down for Kindle as opposed to drafting Graham at 12.

Rob,

No, I am talking forced fumbles, not fumbles recovered. I am taking this from espn stats buddy. Graham 0 forced fumbles.

http://espn.go.com/ncf/player/profile?playerId=191442

I AM ALWAYS,

Ditto JB @ 7:42. How do you come to your bigger need for ILB when the two ILB's we have there have been there for 2 years (One 11-5 season and one 7-9 season)?

What is your vision and answer for the OLB with Porter gone and the Fins brass always talking like Wake is not ready to play full time?

Cheers,

JB,

Graham is a reach at 12, you could just as easily trade down for him

My pre combine and proday mock draft for the Phins
1rd. Brandon Graham DE/OLB Michigan
2rd. Brandon Spikes ILB Florida
3rd. Cam Thomas NT UNC
4rd. Mardy Gilyard WR Cincinnati
6rd. Joique Bell RB Wayne ST
6rd. Eric Cook OG/C New Mexico
6rd. Robert Vaughn FS UCONN
7rd. Jimmy Graham TE the U
7rd. Talor Price WR ohio

NFL network is gonna talk about DE's (ILB) Next, Gonna talk bout ya boy Graham.

NFL network is gonna talk about DE's (ILB) Next, Gonna talk bout ya boy Graham.

you can see the 16 fumbles by Graham on youtube .

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