Dolphins Aim to Establish Ground Attack

By Oehser, John | The Florida Times Union, August 25, 1996 | Go to article overview

Dolphins Aim to Establish Ground Attack


Oehser, John, The Florida Times Union


DAVIE -- He is either very smart, stubborn or both, which may

explain the offensive strate gy of Jimmy Johnson this season.

He wants to run. Then, he wants to run.

And after that, he wants to run. The Miami Dolphins have a

rookie with the name of one of the best NBA players of alltime,

Karim Abdul-Jabbar, at running back. They have one of the best

NFL players of alltime, Dan Marino, at quarterback.

And still, JJ wants to run.

"If we're going to be a good football team in December and

January, you've got to be able to run," Johnson, in his first

season as Dolphins coach, said recently. "Everybody understands

we can throw, but I don't want to start this season off throwing

it 50 times a game. That's not going to get us where we want to

go."

Where Johnson wants is to go is the Super Bowl and while that

is a lofty goal for a team that lost more in the off-season than

it gained, it does make a case for Johnson as one of the most

stubborn and most confident NFL coaches.

He believes, he said during the off-season, the Dolphins can be

good despite free-agency losses of linebacker Bryan Cox,

defensive end Marco Coleman and cornerback Troy Vincent.

Yet, to win, he said, a team must run. Marino agreed, saying

during training camp, "I don't care if we pass 10 times a game.

I want to win."

So Johnson spent camp rotating backs. Rookie Jerris McPhail was

impressive, and likely will make the team. Terry Kirby, a

veteran, was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. Two other

veterans, Irving Spikes and Bernie Parmalee, were considered for

starting roles, but neither impressed Johnson. Abdul-Jabbar, a

third-round selection from UCLA, was injured early, but likely

will start by early in the season. …

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