What can we expect from Ronnie Brown?
To follow up on the heated Ronnie Brown discussion from the FantasySportsGroup radio show with our own Greg Kellogg, John Carson, Cliff McConnaughhay, and Mike Harrmon of Foxsports. Listen to the show here.
Ronnie Brown is certainly this yearĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s Clinton Portis. How Ronnie Brown was able to put up fantasy numbers with that offense last year before he went down is beyond me. It could be a product on the Cam Cameron system or Brown could have made a step toward top RB material, but more on that later.
Normally it takes 8-9 months to come back from an ACL reconstruction. More of my thoughts on ligament injuries can be found in my ffinjuries.com article Ligaments. <> It does take time for the athlete to adjust back to playing speed. ItĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s hard to say if Ronnie Brown will be Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“mentally readyĂ˘â‚¬Âť to carry the load in Miami. The recent reports are that Brown is ahead of schedule and is taking reps with the first team during non-contact drills. I think that is important. If a player has problems earlier in the rehab, such as a restriction in range of motion, uncontrollable swelling, or infection, there is usually more of a mental issue to get over later in the rehab process. That does not seem to be the case with Ronnie Brown.
Ronnie Brown tore his ACL in October of 2007, and by the reports out of camp I think he will be ready for the season, but I will tamper my expectations for him. Reasons why? Ronnie BrownĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s main value last year was his production in the passing game. Before getting hurt in the middle of the week seven game, Brown had 39 receptions. That is huge for a running back in PPR. He did also split carries with Jesse Chatman the first couple of weeks in the season. By week three he was asked to carry the load and he was the only bright spot to the Miami offense. That being said with Cam Cameron in Baltimore now, and the higher demand of cuts required for a running back to be involved in the passing game out of the back field, I donĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t think he will come out of the gates with the same production he had last year, even if he is fully healthy.
RonnieĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s situation reminds me of Deuce McAllister in 2006. On October 9th 2005, McAllister tore his right ACL. During the 2006 season he was the #14 fantasy running back. McAllisterĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s 2006 success was from his ability to just pound the ball. I think it helped him that Reggie Bush was there to pressure defenses and make the skilled plays as a running back. McAllister did tear his other ACL in the left knee last season while trying to make one of the skillful plays jumping for a swing pass early in the season. McAllisterĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s success in 2006 was from Drew Brees, Reggie Bush and Marques Colston in the passing game opening up holes for McAllister. However, in Miami, there is no real threat of a passing game.
In the beginning of the season, I do think Ronnie Brown will get a majority of the carries up the middle, but I think we will see a dose of Ricky Williams if he can stay clean and healthy. Reports say Ricky Williams has been very impressive in camp. Most importantly, I donĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t think we will see as many receptions for Ronnie Brown as we did last year in the first half of the year. Receiving the ball out of the back field requires quick sudden bursts of acceleration, side-ward movement, concentration on catching the ball, and there is a higher chance of getting hit blind-sided receiving the ball. This maybe the hardest things to encounter when coming off knee surgery. Williams may benefit from those catches. So, the first half of the season with the good reports Ricky Williams has had out of camp we may see fantasy production about equal between the two. Depending on how successful the duo is we may continue to see the same work load. If Ronnie Brown becomes more comfortable as the season progresses, we may see an increased role for him in the Miami play book and he would be fresh enough to have a great tail end of the fantasy season.