Heading into the home stretch amid a fight for what is likely a Wild Card spot, the Miami Dolphins are looking to do more than just win a game this weekend. The team must find a running game against the league’s 30th ranked rush defense, taking some of the pressure off of Chad Pennington who will have his hands full looking to fill the void left by the injury of his favorite target.
Greg Camarillo was more than just the Dolphins’ leading receiver. He was the fans’ belief that big names, big contracts, and analysts’ projections meant nothing on the football field. In the wake of his season-ending injury, he leaves behind a corps of backs and receivers who can either take to heart Camarillo’s attitude and self-determination in resurrecting a team that was still winless at this time last season, or crumble in the face of a playoff picture where even a 10-6 record might not be enough to gain entry into the playoffs.
Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams need to put last week’s dismal performance (a shared 58 yards) behind them and look for the one-two punch they gave to the Patriots in their first meeting. A respectable San Diego defense saw the tandem rush for over 150 yards, and more recently, Oakland and Seattle gave up similar numbers on the ground. St. Louis should be no exception.
A strong ground game could not come at a more critical time as Pennington looks to answer the question of who will step up in Camarillo’s place. St. Louis’s defense is a little better against the pass, ranking 21st in the league. This still leaves Pennington with plenty of opportunity, though, to find out if Ted Ginn, Jr. might live up to his potential. Also look for Davone Bess to build on his momentum from a solid game against New England.
Maybe the key, however, is not at the wideout or running back positions. Just last week, tight end David Martin caught four balls for 60 yards. A resurgence by Martin’s counterpart Anthony Fasano could help the these two to redefine the Dolphins’ passing game just in time for a run at the postseason.
It may seem the obvious answer is to find an individual who can step up and replace Camarillo for the rest of the season. The more effective and sustainable answer, though, might be to look to the entire offense to repeat its best performances from throughout the season, to do what it already knows is possible.