Brownout: Dolphins fall, use No. 1 back sparingly

By Hugo Guzman  |   Monday, September 17, 2007  |  Comments( 7 )

Miami Dolphins
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By the looks of things, it seems as if Ronnie Brown is on his way out of Miami.

The Dolphins fell at home to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, 37-20, but perhaps most depressing for Miami fans is that for the second week in a row, the team's 2005 second overall pick was used sparingly. Instead, head coach Cam Cameron chose to rely almost exclusively on Trent Green's arm despite being down by just one score for most of the contest. The result? Four Green interceptions and a sloppy center exchange that resulted in another turnover.

Green, in fairness, certainly did show flashes of brilliance -- like when he hit veteran wideout Marty Booker in the back of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown strike. He was also fairly effective during a two-minute drill at the end of the first half, but a botched spike cost the team a down and ran a few seconds off the clock, forcing the Dolphins to kick a field goal instead of a touchdown try.

As for Brown, it's not as if he was having a standout performance. The third-year back managed just 33 yards on 11 carries to go along with two receptions for 36 yards. Early in the third quarter, however, when it appeared that Brown was finding his rhythm (gaining 22 yards on four carries during the Dolphins' lone touchdown drive of the evening), Cameron chose to look elsewhere.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Miami went on to cough up the ball on four of its next six possessions, turning a 13-10 lead into a 37-20 defeat. Brown got only one more carry thereafter (the Dolphins' final rushing attempt of the afternoon, midway through the third quarter), and he was on the sideline on most plays while Jesse Chatman filled in and caught a few short passes but made no real impact.

Brown and the offense aside, the Dolphins' defense was far from spectacular in the team's home opener. Jason Taylor showed some tenacity during the pregame routine, snatching a Cowboys banner from an opposing fan, but that was more or less the highlight of his afternoon. Taylor and his defensive cohorts failed to generate any semblance of a pass rush, allowing Tony Romo & Co. to convert third downs at will, and finishing the afternoon with no sacks and no turnovers. The 'D' also had trouble stopping the run all afternoon long, with the crowning disgrace coming late in the fourth quarter when Marion Barber went untouched for a 40-yard touchdown jaunt.

In essence, Miami's defense, which was supposed to be the team's strong suit, looked very pedestrian and failed to contribute in a significant manner throughout the course of the game.

Even special teams play mostly went in the Cowboys' favor. Ted Ginn Jr. did have a nice kick return on the Dolphins' first offensive possession of the day but looked tentative on most of his other opportunities. The most pivotal special teams play of the game occurred in the third quarter, when a senseless penalty committed by '06 first-round pick Jason Allen negated a solid punt and tackle. On the subsequent re-kick, Dallas' Patrick Crayton exploded for a 49-yard return to set up great field position.

Still, perhaps the most significant development was the non-usage of Brown. It's becoming quite clear that Cameron is stubbornly choosing to forsake the running attack in favor of Green and his receivers; Brown is not being utilized as a true featured back. That kind of offense hearkens back to Mike Mularkey's play-calling last year. Cameron was supposed to be a different kind of coach on offense. Not so far, however.

At this point, it would not be crazy to assume that Brown isn't a part of Cameron's long-term plan. Whether that means Brown will be jettisoned at the upcoming trading deadline or during the offseason -- if at all -- is anyone's guess.

Salary-cap implications aside, the notion of Cameron getting rid of Brown seems quite realistic. Perhaps Cameron will prove otherwise and begin feeding the ball to his supposed No. 1 back more consistently.

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About Hugo Guzman

Trying to bring an objective approach to NFL analysis.
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CommentsComments: 7  |  Sign Up  View all comments
09:21 AM
I think Coach Cameron has handed the offensive call duties back to Mike Mularkey since this is looking like the offense of last...
09:40 AM
Wow! Are the Dolphins really this bad?? I guess the true test will be vs. Oakland. Lose that game and it's rock bottom for the...
09:44 AM
i totally think its a very big mistake to give up on brown i would take him over chatman, i do believe cameron don't like brown...
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