Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Belichick: Fins' O about same sans Brown
By Tim Graham
If you can recall Bill Belichick's baffled expressions last year in Week 3, you might think he'd be relieved not to worry about Miami Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown on Sunday.
But Belichick estimated only 5 percent of the Dolphins' variety-pack offense is different without one of the NFL's most dangerous backs, who suffered a season-ending broken foot in Week 10.
Ricky Williams has eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in each of the Dolphins' past three games.
"It looks to me like 95 percent of their offense is the same as it was," Belichick said Wednesday.
Brown lacerated the New England Patriots for five touchdowns in that game that marked the birth of the Wildcat offense.
The Patriots mostly contained him in the two games since, but much of their game plan was geared to stop him specifically. He still managed to throw for a touchdown when they played four weeks ago.
Since Brown's injury, Ricky Williams has been a workhorse, stringing together three 100-yard games for the first time since 2003.
"I think Ricky Williams has really taken Ronnie's spot there," Belichick said. "When they had both players, they were comfortable with either one of them in the game, and if there was only one of them, then they were comfortable with that player in the game. So whether they shared the load or it was all Ronnie or all Ricky -- based on the availability of the players -- I think their offense is pretty much the same.
"They had the one Wildcat package with Ronnie and Ricky in the game with the speed sweep, with Williams coming across the field. That looks like that's died out and has been replaced with more of a Pat White package. ... They used it successfully against us. But they've built on that the last three weeks against Tampa, Carolina and then Buffalo."
The Dolphins unveiled the WildPat in Gillette Stadium. White, the rookie scrambling quarterback, flummoxed the Patriots with the option. He ran six times for 45 yards, including a 33-yard dash. Four snaps later, White flipped the ball to Williams on a 15-yard option run.
White hasn't thrown much this year, but Belichick acknowledged the need to be prepared for it.
"Ronnie's not the passer Pat is, and Pat's not the runner that Ronnie is, but they both can do elements of both," Belichick said. "That's how they give you problems. That's why they use them the way they have. That's why they're effective. They both can run. They both can throw. They have their strengths and they have enough versatility to put pressure on the defense."