After what Ricky Williams accomplished in 2002, the expectations for the starting halfback for 2003 were through the roof. Simply, he was expected to carry the Dolphins offense on his back.
His performance in 2003:
Running backs coach Joel Collier shook his head midway through the season and made the point that Williams could wind up with the second-best rushing season in franchise history and his season would be considered a disappointment because of what he did the previous season. Well, Collier was right. Not that Williams had a terrible season, but he wasn't quite as explosive and not all of it can be attributed to a sorry performance by the offensive line. No, Williams has to share some of the responsibility. He just didn't break as many tackles as he did in 2002, and there were times when he looked like he was looking for the long run instead of just taking what was there. That being said, Williams still was productive. Shoot, you don't get to 1,300 yards rushing without doing some things right.
His future with the team:
Unless the Dolphins become a pass-happy team because Dan Marino is now in the front office, this is the guy who makes the offense go. Williams clearly is among the top backs in the league and the Dolphins would be wise to take full advantage of him before his body wears out from all the pounding he's taking.
Grade for 2003: B.