Battle of two-back teams

A major topic of conversation around the Dolphins in recent weeks has been the ability to get both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams in a rhythm and fully involved in the offense. On Sunday, the Dolphins will be going up against a team with some experience of splitting carries between two talented running backs.

In fact, the Falcons not only have found a way to get Dunn and Duckett enough touches, but quarterback Michael Vick has been a major factor in the running game as well.

There's a reason the Falcons led the NFL in rushing last season and are No. 1 again in 2005, and that's been their ability to get the most out of the running combination they call "DVD."

Make no mistake, Dunn is the feature back for the Falcons, as evidenced by the fact he has twice as many carries as Duckett. So things are a little simpler for Atlanta.

The Dolphins don't appear to be ready to make one guy a clear No. 1, with Coach Nick Saban already saying on a couple of occasions that the Dolphins have co-starters at running back.

There obviously was no problem with the way the Dolphins used Brown and Williams last Sunday New Orleans, and that's the way Saban and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan would love to see things play out every week.

As for the Atlanta running game, Saban indicated the Falcons run the same plays whether Dunn or Duckett is the back, but both guys obviously have different running styles.

Dunn, although he is a tough runner, is more of a slasher, while Duckett is a bruiser with tremendous size.

Saban is well familiar with Duckett having recruited him at Michigan State after Duckett starred as a wishbone quarterback and middle linebacker in high school.

"He wanted to be a linebacker (in college) and the way I got him to move to running back was I told him that I thought he would have more girls on campus if he played running back than if he played linebacker," Saban said with a big smile on his face. "That is one of my techniques that I have used in the past to get guys to do what I want them to do. After he gained about 200 yards in one game it was not a problem after that."

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Wide receiver David Boston again was the only player who didn't practice on Thursday.


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