2004 Season Review: HB

With the Dolphins' dismal 2004 season now over, we take a look back with a position-by-position evaluation as well as a look forward to what the offseason might bring. Today we examine the halfbacks.

Overview

The Dolphins thought they were in good shape at this position, but that all changed when Ricky Williams stunned the football world with his decision to walk away from the game. With Williams gone, the Dolphins were left with returning backup Travis Minor, Leonard Henry and Sammy Morris, who had been signed as a free agent as a fullback. Shortly before the start of the regular season, the Dolphins traded a third-round pick to St. Louis for former third-round pick Lamar Gordon, who fell to third on the Rams' depth chart after they drafted Steven Jackson in the first round last April. Partly because of an offensive line that was among the worst in the league, the Dolphins running backs had very little success all season. Of the bunch, Morris clearly was the best.

Sammy Morris: Morris battled injuries on and off throughout the season, but he was the one guy who showed some spark in the running game.

Travis Minor: Minor always has shown some ability as a third-down back, but it became clear (if it wasn't already) that he's not suited to be an every-down back. He was nicked a good deal of the year and had very little success running the ball.

Lamar Gordon: Gordon had no success whatsoever in the first couple of games before he went down with a shoulder injury in the Sunday night loss to Pittsburgh.

Leonard Henry: For some reason, some thought he might get the job done if given the chance. He didn't. There's a reason he was drafted only in the seventh round and has been a practice squad player.

Brock Forsey: This guy did some nice running in backup work in the middle of the season, but then was let go before being brought back.

Vick King: Moved up from the practice squad midway through the season, King didn't make much of an impact when given the chance.

Looking ahead

The Dolphins missed Williams terribly in 2004 because so much of the offense revolved around him and because the Dolphins didn't have anybody else who really looked like a feature back. Even though Morris look good at times, it's clear the Dolphins need to find a running back in the offseason whether it be through free agency (Shaun Alexander or LaMont Jordan perhaps?) or the draft (Cedric Benson or Cadillac Williams, for example). Of those on the roster at the end of the season, Morris and Gordon should be back in some capacity, with Morris possibly moving back to fullback. Minor will be an unrestricted free agent come March, but don't look for the Dolphins to make that much of an effort to re-sign him.


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