Patriots Must Beware Of Williams

Ricky Williams

Obviously the Dolphins need to find a way to keep Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Wes Welker in check on defense, but on offense what's the key? Ricky Williams is the grease in the gears of the Wildcat and New England knows they must contain him.

When preparing to play the Miami Dolphins, teams have learned to expect the unexpected. The Patriots learned as much the hard way last year in a blowout loss at home.

In addition to using the Wildcat offense with prolific success, the Dolphins have many tricks up their sleeve that could play a factor Sunday when the teams renew their rivalry at Gillette Stadium.

"With (offensive coordinator Dan) Henning, they have new stuff every week," Pats head coach Bill Belichick said. "They have a lot of different gadget plays, different formations, different formations that run the same plays and they have a variety of gadget plays -- two, three, four of them every week."

One of the players usually in on the secret is running back Ricky Williams. Though he's lost some of his speed over the years, Williams is still a versatile playmaker who tends to catch opponents by surprise.

In particular, Williams is a big part of Miami's speed sweep, which has worked successfully in recent weeks, and can be used interchangeably with starter Ronnie Brown. The two play off one another to add confusion at the line of scrimmage.

"If you're not wide enough, then Ricky gets out there on that flat and if you get out there wide then it opens up the inside runs for Ronnie (Brown) after he fakes it," Belichick said.

"They kind of complement those two plays and make them look the same. It's not a read. When you are defending one it's kind of hard to defend the other or you're a little lighter in one or the other. If you try to play them both equally, I'm not sure if you're good enough at either spot."

Watching the plays develop on film is easy, but defending them on the field is not as simple. The Patriots know this, which is why they're expecting the unexpected Sunday.

"Everybody gets it, so I'm sure we'll get it," Belichick said. "What it will be? It's whatever Dan drew up on Monday and Tuesday after looking at us (and) feeling like this is something they could hit us on. And they're not all passes; they're runs, reverses or some kind of deceptive plays. But that is definitely part of their offense. They run them in every game."


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