The chances Ronnie Brown signs a multi-year deal to stay in Miami this offseason seem like a long shot at the moment. Don’t expect that to change either, as Ronnie has already made it clear he doesn’t plan on holding out, has been hurt in every season he has been in the league, with the exception being 2008, the same year the Dolphins had a relatively empty injury report week in and week out, and he is now 28 years old.
No, in all likelihood, Ronnie is going to have to ink that one-year tender, and put himself in a play for pay situation. Will the Dolphins finally reward Ronnie next offseason by giving him his long term deal, and lock up a top ten talent at running back for the next three or four years?
First off, let me just say, if Ronnie gets hurt again, he’s as good as gone in my opinion. This front office doesn’t tolerate injuries, and truth be told, they are already probably fed up with Brown, and would have dealt him this offseason if the compensation was right.
The term injury prone is defined as simply Ronnie Brown in Websters, but is that even a real, let’s say, syndrome, or just a misfortune case of bad luck? Are Ronnie’s knee ligaments and bones really more fragile than the next guy? That doesn’t sound like a feasible theory to me, but then again, it can’t be simply a coincidence that guys like Ronnie and Bob Sanders from the Colts are always banged up.
Whatever the case, it’s clear Ronnie’s first priority in 2010 is going to be staying clear of the injury report. Secondly, he is going to have to maintain a high level of production.
For a back who many, myself included, consider to be a top ten talent, Ronnie has only gone over the 1,000 yard plateau once in his career. And that came in 06′ when he missed three games with a broken hand. Yes, he’s been hurt in every season but one, and has split carries with Ricky Williams for the majority of his career, but you would still expect more out of a pro-bowl caliber player.
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That’s why, if he wants a multi-year deal in Miami, career numbers are a must. Because talent-wise, there is no reason he shouldn’t have a career year if he stays healthy. Back in 08′, Ronnie’s only 16 game season, the interior of the Dolphins’ offensive line really made it tough sledding trying to run the ball between the tackles.
That, along with lack of offensive weapons, inspired the unleashing of the wildcat. The Dolphins needed the misdirection, and the uncertainty behind what Ronnie was going to do, to produce running lanes.
Now that the Dolphins have upgraded the interior of that line, even though there are roster battles currently brewing at both guard spots and center, that is no longer an issue. Don’t expect the wildcat to go anywhere though. It’s still a great power running formation and forces opposing defensive coordinators to take time out of practice and game plan for it.
Let’s be honest though, Ronnie Brown makes the wildcat. Ronnie has the perfect combination of power running and agility to make plays happen, and has the patience and vision to diagnose where the hole is. You see so many other teams experiment with the package, some have moderate success, but no one has even rivaled what the Dolphins have done with it.
And it’s not because quarterbacks coach David Lee, who brought the formation over from Arkansas, knows some secret about it that nobody else knows either. It’s simply because Ronnie Brown makes it work.
With the Dolphins appearing to have the makings of a franchise quarterback emerging, to go along with finally having a true number one receiver, keeping Ronnie Brown around for the sole purpose of running the wildcat isn’t enough incentive. In 08′ the Dolphins needed the wildcat, now it’s simply a luxury.
By all accounts, this appears to be the biggest season of Ronnie’s career. He not only will have to stay healthy, but produce consistently at a high level all season long. Yes, Ronnie’s injuries have made him slightly overrated, but let’s not forget what he’s capable of.
Does anybody remember 2007? I know, many of you have tried to flush the worse season in franchise history out of your memory, as have I, but looking back at the type of season Ronnie was on pace for, is pretty remarkable.
At the time, Ronnie was performing like the best back in football, as he was leading the league in all purpose yards. Through seven games, Ronnie had accumulated 648 rushing yards, which was on pace for 1,482 yards, and 389 receiving yards, which would have added up to 890 yards, if he would have racked up yards at the same rate for sixteen games. Pretty phenomenal stuff. On a side note, does that not speak volumes about how bad that football team was, when they were 0-7, despite Ronnie having an MVP type season?
Anyway, 2010 will be a financial make or break season for Brown, and will likely decide his fate as a Miami Dolphin. There’s no doubt Ronnie is a fan favorite in Miami, and it’s a shame that someone so talented can’t keep from getting hurt. Here’s to Ronnie staying healthy, and having the best season of his career.