I made this chart to more easily present his findings.
| || Average || Attempts || Long || Fumbles || Lost Yard % || Double-digit gain % |
| Carries 1-5 || 3.3 || 150 || 18 || 7 || 28.7 || 6.7 |
| Carries 6-10 || 4.4 || 144 || 65 || 0 || 14.6 || 12.5 |
| Carries 11-15 || 4.9 || 98 || 47 || 0 || 18.4 || 11.2 |
| Carries 16+ || 4.8 || 78 || 58 || 0 || 16.7 || 10.3 |
We've all known that Brown gets exponentially better the more carries he receives. However, I didn't realize that the difference was so pronounced. He only averages 3.3 yards per carry and has 7 fumbles in his first five carries of a game! He also loses yardage almost 30% of the time on those carries. On carries 11-15, his average skyrockets to 4.9 yards per carry.
So what should we make of this? First of all, I think it proves that Brown is always uncomfortable to start a game. He hasn't really shown any ability to break out of this trend either. It puts the offense in a Catch-22 situation because when the running game inevitably stalls early in the game, the offense also sputters, leading to more punts and opponent possessions. That, of course, leads to more scoring opportunities for the opponent and the Dolphins generally find themselves losing early. Then, when the team is losing, it leans on the passing game more heavily in order to quickly catch back up and Ronnie can't get the desired number of carries.
So basically Ronnie can't get into a rhythm unless the team can stay ahead early, but the team can't stay ahead early if Ronnie can't establish a rhythm from the beginning of the game. It all just makes my head hurt because I can't see how he'll ever succeed under those conditions.
I also have to question how much of his success with an increased workload comes from his own comfort level and how much comes from the offensive line wearing down the defense. I assume it's a combination of both because Ronnie really does look like a different runner when he's gotten over 10 carries. He's more confident with his bursts and decisions and he seems to let what instincts he does have simply take over.
Unfortunately, those instincts won't be able to have an impact unless the team is able to keep the games close enough to allow for a consistent running game. The coaching staff must address his early game woes. If he even marginally improve his first five carries, he'll be more likely to see carries 15 and up.