Hey, it’s your resident blogger Daniel Eliesen here on Phins Phocus. I am very excited about this new series we just kicked off at Phins Phocus on the All Time Dolphins Roster. Yesterday, my Co- Blogger Cody did a great job on letting you guys know who he thinks are the top 3 QB’s in Dolphins history. I don’t think there is much debate with who are the top 2 Qb’s in Dolphins history (Marino and Griese) but his 3rd choice Chad Pennington might have raised a few eye brows. As much as I love Chad, I am a Jay Fiedler guy. Perhaps the biggest problem with the Dolphins organization is that they haven’t been able to find a 3rd guy to go on that list, but here’s to hoping. Today it’s my job to turn back the time machine and carefully explore which 3 running backs I deem suitable for the All -Time Miami Dolphins Roster.
Before I fill you on my choices, I thought I should let all of you know that this list for the top 3 RBs to make the roster recognizes any Full back as a Running Back, meaning Larry Csonka will be on this list. Some might say I’m taking the easy way out calling Csonka a RB/FB but the guy ran the ball an awful lot for a FB. So without further ado, these are your top 3 Running backs that made the squad.
1) Larry Csonka (1968–1974)
Csonka a 237 pound, 6 foot 3 bowling ball was able to run over any defender that tried to take him down. Csonka is widely believed to be the top back in Dolphins history. Despite some question on whether he is a running back or fullback due to his size and Jim Kiick’s presence as the lead back, Csonka had no trouble leaving his mark in Dolphins history.
Csonka a two time super bowl champion was one of the more critical pieces on the Dolphins 72’ perfect season squad and help lead an offense that was made to pound the football into the hearts of opposing defenses. In addition to his two super bowl rings, Csonka has some extra bling in his closet after he was named Super Bowl VIII MVP. Csonka is also a 5 time Pro Bowler the most of any Dolphin at the position.
In his 8 years in Miami, Csonka piled up 6737 yards and 53 touchdowns. Csonka was an old school bulldozing back that you don’t see around much anymore but certainly will always be remember by Dolphins fans.
Okay now let the debating begin! I know that this selection of Ricky as the second best back in Dolphins history won’t go without some criticism. Many Dolphins fans still haven’t forgiven Ricky for betraying the team and quite frankly just quitting on us. While Ricky has left a bitter taste in many Dolphans mouths I’m willing to put that to the side and remember all the positives Ricky has gone through in his career as a Dolphin. In 2002, the Dolphins fan base was taken for a spin when they had been informed that Ricky Williams was traded to the Miami Dolphins on March 8, 2002 for four draft picks, including two first-round picks. The trade came with lots of praise and speculation but for my money was a good deal when all was said and done.
Ricky holds Dolphins rushing records including Most Rushing TDs in a Season (16), Most Rushing Yards in a Season (1853) and Most Rushing yards in a game (228). In his tenure as a Dolphins running back Ricky also has 17 100 yard rushing games which leads the franchise. Stats don’t lie and the stats say that clearly Ricky can run and that he ran well for us.
The 2002 season was clearly Ricky’s best and was also the best rushing year any player has ever had in the Aqua and Orange. In addition to his stats Ricky was also selected to the Pro Bowl where he won Pro Bowl MVP and was the NFL rushing leader that season. When Ricky was able to take the joints out of his mouth he was probably the most effective back in Dolphins history.
For those of you who were expecting Karim Abdul Jabar well sorry, wrong league this isn’t the NBA it’s the NFL and Karim was no Hall of famer for the Dolphins. Mercury Morris was one of the longest tenured running back in Dolphins history (which doesn’t say much) and is also considered one of the most annoying Dolphins ever by most non Phin fans. Morris has been very public about his thoughts on the 72 Dolphins and to be quite honest with you it even annoys me sometimes. Like Ricky, I decided to put aside Morris’s off the field issues with the law and simply value Morris as a member of the Dolphins on the field.
Morris didn’t really get the attempts and starts to qualify him as an all time back but also played a strong role in Miami’s special teams in the 70’s. Morris made the most of his opportunities at running back though, gaining 315 rushing yards on 57 carries for a 5.5 yard average, an average that would have led the NFL had he enough carries to qualify. That season, Morris was selected for the Pro Bowl for the first time as a kick returner, although he also was used as a running back in the game.
Morris was on both Dolphins Super Bowl winning teams as a backup running back. Now you might argue how can I have Morris as number 3 on my list when he was a backup. Well Morris despite not being on the field as much as Kiick received more rushing attempts and was clearly the main focus in the backfield. Morris was also selected to the Pro Bowl both of the Dolphins Super Bowl winning years. Morris ran for exactly 1000 yards in 72 which made him and Csonka the first ever tandem in the NFL to both rush over 1000 yards. That record today might seem trivial but at the time was very impressive. Although Morris' Super Bowl statistics don’t compare to Csonka, he excelled in several playoff games leading up to Miami's two Super Bowl championships. In 1972 he led the Dolphins in rushing in both the divisional playoff game against Cleveland and the AFC Championship Game against Pittsburgh and was a key element of the perfect season.
A couple of guys left off the list : Jim Kiick, Ronnie Brown
Let me know if you guys agree with my selection at Running Back for the All Time Dolphins Roster!