The Dolphins have been known since Tony Sparano took over as a team that does move of its damage on the ground. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are their one-two punch. They brought the run based Wildcat into the mainstream. This year has been a different story, though. Miami only averages 3.8 yards per carry. That is twenty-fifth in the league. They have run it 341 yards, which is the ninth most in the league. Backs matter in the run game, but a lot of the issues seem to lie up front.
Injuries and illness have forced the Dolphins to use three different starting combinations on the offensive line. Right tackle Vernon Carey, who has a knee injury, will miss Sunday's game, which will mean a fourth combination. While I'm sure the changes have not helped matters, the Dolphins have averaged 3.79 per carry with their regular starting five of Carey, John Jerry, Joe Berger, Richie Incognito, and Jake Long out there, virtually identical to their season average.
They also lost guard Justin Smiley and center Jake Grove over the offseason, who were excellent run blockers. They have been missed.
Miami is not as physical up front as it used to be. On paper, New York's defense appears to have an edge going in.