Welcoming Back

There may not be a team that’s lost their identity among the football’s elite teams like the Miami Dolphins. In 2000, the team was forced to make an abrupt change with the stepping down of Jimmy Johnson and Dan Marino. The downfall expected didn’t happen, as Jay Fiedler came in and led Miami to successful campaigns, even though they all resulted in quick playoff exits. Prior to last year though, the two previous years resulted in a couple of late season collapses reminiscent to Dolphin struggles of the past.

Then came the summer of 2004, when Ricky Williams abruptly stepped down, and Miami was forced to sit back and wait for a chaotic season of hell to unfold. That’s exactly what happened, as AJ Feeley and Jay Fiedler traded starts without fully grasping the team in the right direction. It ultimately led to Dave Wannstedt stepping down, and Miami’s veterans in a frustrated frame of mind. They blamed the entire losing season on Ricky Williams, and didn’t want his name mentioned in a Dolphins uniform ever again.

Now, there is a new boss in Nick Saban but he can’t forget that many of the players still on the Dolphins team have hardcore animosity towards Williams. If Ricky Williams was to be dropped in the Dolphins locker room, there is no telling what could happen. Obviously these athletes are grown men and business is business. There are plenty of professional jobs were people don’t like each other, and just keep to themselves. That’s exactly what is going to happen in the Dolphins locker room, and unity will be out of the question.

Williams has been away from football since December of 2003, so his legs should be fresh and in the state of a reborn athlete. That could make him a big time dangerous back, and that’s probably the main reason why Miami doesn’t want him to get away that easily. If they can get him to come back for a year, and backup or lead Ronnie Brown, it’d benefit them in the 2005 off-season. Teams like the Raiders with multiple first round picks, may want to take the gamble and unload a first round pick on Williams.

Right now that proposition isn’t available, as no team in their right mind would risk even a third round pick for Williams. He is going to have to prove himself, and that can only happen in Miami. He still faces a four game suspension, so he’ll literally not step onto the NFL football field for almost two full seasons. From December 2003 until mid October, he’ll have went unscathed from NFL defenses.

Word out of Miami is that Gus Frerotte is out performing AJ Feeley for the quarterback position, and if Miami has solved some questions on the offensive line that watch out. A dynamic duo running back field has been the key to any successful team. Just look at the four teams in that made it to their respective championship games. Atlanta has Duckett-Dunn, Pittsburgh Staley-Bettis, Philadelphia Westbrook-Buckhalter (even though injured most of last season), and New England with Dillon and Kevin Faulk. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams together would automatically be a top five duo, and alleviate a high percentage of stress on Frerotte or Feeley. Still, if the offensive line is dismal, than 3.0 yards per carry isn’t going to cut it.

Regardless the situation with Ricky Williams is going to be the most entertaining story heading into the 2005 season.


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