Williams: Run game sputtering from lack of use
By STEVEN WINE
AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP) -- Ricky Williams says the Miami Dolphins would run the ball better if they ran it more.
And he says the wildcat has likewise sputtered due to lack of use.
Going into Sunday's game against the New York Jets, Miami ranks last in the AFC is scoring, and a so-so ground game is part of the problem. Neither Williams nor Ronnie Brown has had a 100-yard game.
Last year, when Williams ran for 1,121 yards, the Dolphins ranked fourth in the NFL in rushing. This year they're 18th.
"I don't think we've done it enough," Williams said Wednesday during a conference call with New York media. "Last year we ran it for 100 yards several times, and it was because we were running the ball. Whether we're getting down in games or coach likes the passing game plan, we just haven't run the ball enough."
Williams wasn't necessarily criticizing play-calling, noting the addition this season of Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall made passing a more appealing option.
He said the situation's the same with the wildcat. Last year the package featuring Brown and Williams averaged 4.7 yards per play and 28 per game; this year the averages are 3.0 per play and 12 per game.
"We just haven't run it enough," Williams said. "I don't think we've called it enough in games. I don't think we've run it enough and worked on it in practice enough to make it a big part of our offense."
Williams himself remains productive at age 33. As Brown's backup he has averaged 45 yards rushing per game and 4.5 per carry. The latter figure is higher than his career average of 4.1.
"He's having a good season," coach Tony Sparano said. "He's done a good job for what we've asked him to do. He's running the ball well -- still shows me that he's got a good burst and runs the ball hard and is physical."
The 2002 NFL rushing champion has rushed for 9,436 yards, meaning he might reach 10,000 if he plays next season. He needs 431 yards to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Larry Csonka as the leading rusher in Dolphins history.
Williams is undecided about whether he'll return in 2011.
"I'll be a free agent after this year," he said. "I'll be 34 next year. It's kind of wait and see. If someone wants me and they can convince me to do this one more year, I'll definitely have the opportunity. If not, I'm happy with what I've been able to accomplish in my career."
Williams has been with the Dolphins since 2002, longer than any other player on the roster. His longevity is a surprise considering he retired for a season in 2004 and played in only one NFL game in 2006-07, when he served a suspension for violating the league's drug program.
Received 12/08/10 08:19 pm ET