Ricky Ready To Roll?

Like it or not — and there's no question he doesn't — Ricky Williams is in the spotlight this week with Ronnie Brown declared out of Thursday night's game at Carolina. That spotlight might shine longer depending on the severity of Brown's injury, but all we know for now is the Carolina game. Williams is back as the focal point of the running game.

The big question, of course, might be whether Williams can handle the increased workload he's likely to get. Let's be honest, it's one thing to share carries between Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams because both are great talents, but there's a major drop-off from Williams to either Lex Hilliard or Kory Sheets.

Williams carried a season-high 20 times against Tampa Bay last Sunday, and his best run was his last — a 27-yard gain that made Dan Carpenter's game-winning field goal a chip-shot 25-yarder.

Williams likely can handle 22 to 25 carries a game. When asked about that on Thursday, "We'll find out."

It was one of several short answers Williams gave during a 1-minute, 36-second interview that he cut short while someone was in the middle of a question.

As stated before, Williams does not like attention. He has to meet with the media periodically or risk being fined, and that's pretty much the only reason he talked at all on Thursday.

But he doesn't like doing interviews, particularly when they involve a group firing questions at him.

For Ricky, that's likely to be the toughest thing about become The Man with Brown out. It's only one reason why Williams is really hoping Brown's injury doesn't turn out to be serious.

For the Dolphins, the biggest consequence of not having Brown figures to involve the Wildcat. Yes, Williams has taken snaps in the Wildcat before, but they lose Williams as the runner in motion.

Many times, that's been the best play out of the Wildcat, the inside handoff to Williams running laterally at the snap.

If the Dolphins still want to run that play, it's now going to be someone else coming in motion, perhaps Hilliard, perhaps Sheets, who knows, perhaps Ted Ginn Jr.

Then there's the issue of throwing the ball out of the Wildcat. The Dolphins did that a couple of times, but never with Williams.

For the record, Williams has thrown passes in his career, but only two and none since 2000. That year, he hit Keith Poole for a 34-yard completion while he was a member of the New Orleans Saints.

Coach Tony Sparano said Tuesday it's possible that Brown's absence will mean that the Dolphins won't use the Wildcat against Carolina, and we certainly see that as a distinct possibility.

Instead, you might see more snaps for Pat White and the spread option.

Regardless, Williams clearly now becomes the most important player on the Dolphins offense. It's almost like it's 2002 all over again, except that Williams now is 32 instead of 25.

Still, Williams doesn't look or run like a 32-year-old running back these days, so there's reason to hope he can get the job done.

As we find out, all eyes will be on him, and there's not a whole lot he can do about that.


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