Known more for his bubonic chronic exploits than gridiron contributions over the past two years, Sticky Icky Ricky is a rehabilitated man. At least, we think.
Occupied by various hobbies this offseason including reading, photography and experimenting with Yoga poses that would displace normal male groins, Williams appears grounded, mature and focused.
With his mind at peace, the former rushing champ has rediscovered what he does best: punish tacklers. As Tony Sparano told the Palm Beach Post August 5:
"He finishes every run. Within his individual drills, I see the guy working hard to get better. I think the guy shows up each day, and has a purpose when he practices."
That determined approach has sparked the 31-year-old this preseason. In two exhibition games he's impressively powered his way to 74 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries (4.9 YPC). His nifty runs Saturday against the Jags showcased renewed brawn.
Because incumbent Ronnie Brown, who suffered a minor thumb injury Saturday, is still building strength in his surgically repaired knee, Williams is in a prime position to force a 50-50 timeshare or, better yet, net 60 percent of the workload out of the gates. Another stellar performance versus Kansas City Saturday would significantly enhance those chances. Considering Miami opens at home against the Jets and follows with a road trip to Arizona, he would be a strong flex or RB2 play in deeper formats if given sizable touches initially.
Doubters will argue that his advanced age is a major deterrent. However, recall he's only tallied six NFL carries over the past two seasons, which means he's physically fresher and healthier than other thirty-something backs Edgerrin James, Fred Taylor and Thomas Jones.
Sure, Miami's offense as a whole will likely be below average, but Tony Sparano's system is predicated on ball control, which plays perfectly to Williams' grinding style. That combined with the Fins' robust offensive line anchored by No. 1 pick Jake Long and Chad Pennington's ability to keep defenses honest aerially, could lead to a Ricky revival on South Beach.
The Holistic One, whose been selected at pick 120.6 (RB43) on average in Yahoo! and 103.4 (RB39) in Mock Draft Central drafts, is someone to strongly consider after Round 8 in 12-team drafts. At this point, he could amass 800-1000 total yards and 5-7 scores with 180-plus touches.
Massage the crystal ball and give us your Ricky 'Fearless Forecast' below.
Photos courtesy of US Presswire