Mora's strategy on how to use Warrick Dunn

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Mora's strategy on how to use Warrick Dunn

Postby Big Dave » Tue Nov 08, 2005 11:00 am

RB Warrick Dunn has seen his reps decline in practice this season while his numbers in games continue to soar at a career-high pace. RB coach Ollie Wilson told PFW that even though Dunn is picking up 5.1 yards per carry and averaging 3.5 more carries per game than last year, Dunn will only get better in the second half: “We really feel like Warrick is not at his complete best, and that he’s going to be stronger and stronger as the year goes on simply because he’s more well-rested, he’s healed a little bit better and he’s not as nicked up,” Wilson said. “I think that’s going to be an advantage for us later on.”

The strategy of reducing Dunn’s workload in practice was the idea of head coach Jim Mora, who suggested the change when he took over the club in 2004. Wilson said Dunn’s first-half success won’t take away carries from short-yardage specialist T.J. Duckett: “Warrick understands the advantage he gets with T.J. being there is that now he really can be fresh for a lot more periods of time in the game,” Wilson told PFW. “And yet T.J. can come in and change the pace and those type of things as the bigger back. It’s been a great two-system thing that’s worked for a couple years.”


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Postby dirtybirdnw » Tue Nov 08, 2005 1:39 pm

Thanks for the heads up on that one Dave! There is a very good point in that since Warrick Dunn has always suffered from injuries do to him working too much in the first half. Hopefully Dunn will be healthy all second half and we'll have a well rested TJ Duckett since he's been in an out with minor dings.
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Postby Pudge » Tue Nov 08, 2005 2:11 pm

I think it's a forgone conclusion at this point that Dunn will be returning to this team next year. I just can't imagine the Falcons not figuring out a way to deal with his contract after the season.

Last year was the first year that Dunn made it through the whole season healthy. Duckett however, hasn't been able to stay healthy each of the past two years. I can't wait until he gets back into the lineup.

I'm always critical of Duckett early on the year, but usually once the season gets rolling, and he and Dunn are running well, I got nothing but love for the guy.
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Postby dirtybirdnw » Tue Nov 08, 2005 2:15 pm

It's kinda like the Priest Holmes/Larry Johnson combination over in Kansas City. Although it's anyones guess as to how McKay handles these contracts when the time comes. Dunn clearly won't go anywhere and Duckett would only get a big money contract from a team with a want for a big back. Otherwise I don't think Ducketts play has merritted a big contract making it easier for us to bring him back.

I do think we can get a back just as good as Duckett for less money in free agency.
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Postby The_Incomparable » Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:58 pm

dirtybirdnw wrote:
I do think we can get a back just as good as Duckett for less money in free agency.


How can you say that when he has never had a chance to really be THE guy on this team? I don't think he should start over Dunn but there is no doubt in my mind that he can be a Jerome Bettis type of back if given the chance. Honestly, I think letting him go would be worse than dealing Schaub.

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Postby dirtybirdnw » Tue Nov 08, 2005 5:46 pm

Duckett's "skills" are simply being large. He runs straight ahead and bulls over people there is no juking or evading anyone. The Falcons offense is much like the Denver's offense now in that it makes the runners and not the other way around. I'd be willing to bet we could put even marginal rushers and they could turn out 1,000 yard rushing years. More skilled runners could get to 2,000 yards if they didn't have to split the backfield (Dunn).
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Postby jagstang76 » Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:43 am

I would love to them find a way to keep Dunn and then find someone else to sub for him. Duckett just isn't the type of RB that works with this system. We need a bigger back like him, don't get me wrong, and TJ is a good, big RB. However, I'd love to see us get someone like LenDale White or Michael Bush to run next to Dunn. It's important to have someone who is not only big and can move the pile, but also a guy that can change directions quickly and read the OL well enough to consistantly make positive yardage. TJ has not shown the ability to make cuts and read holes in order to take advantage of our system. He needs to run behind a OL that can open holes through brute force like PIT's OL does. I say keep Dunn, draft White or Bush, let TJ go, and sign a big time DE to make the defense better still!

Oh, and if TO wants to get his act together and will come for a small price, add him to that mix, and we'll be in the SB for sure.

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Postby Pudge » Fri Nov 11, 2005 10:19 am

A name you should all remember is Ron Dayne.

Now, I know Dayne has been considered a bust thus far in his NFL career, but know that I have heard nothing but positive things since he went to Denver and is now playing behind a zone-blocking OL that is similar to the one he played behind at Wisconsin.

Dayne is not as powerful as Duckett, but he's quicker. He's done well in a 2-back offense, if you think back to his rookie year. Since he's not much of a blocker or receiver, he's likely to be used in the same manner as Duckett is currently, since T.J. is deficient in those areas as well.

Duckett's cap figure in 2006 is about $1.56 million. A bit high for a backup RB that in a good year is going to see 150 carries. Duckett only received more than 10 carries in a game once this year, and only 6 times last year.

Dayne is likely to cost about the veteran minimum.

Now if the Falcons were looking for a replacement for Duckett that has similar power, then Anthony Thomas, Jonathan Wells, and Verron Haynes are probably the best options. But none are probably as quick as Dayne.
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Postby mickvick302 » Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:53 am

Who can block better: Duckett or Dunn?

I really don't pay attention to the blocking because in a spilt second, with vick, blocking doesnt mean anything at all...i really truly feel sorry for our O Line, because it must be hard as hell to block for him
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Postby dirtybirdnw » Fri Nov 11, 2005 12:58 pm

Dunn is by far a better blocker then Duckett. Probably the biggest struggle for Duckett has been picking up the blitz which he doesn't do so well.
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Postby meansonny » Fri Nov 11, 2005 4:52 pm

I've seen Dunn make some excellent blocks. I think the only time he struggles is if Vick's rolling out and Dunn can't get someone's legs. DE's are able to penetrate and brake these up (or push Vick further backfield before he has to turnupfield).

But he does an excellent job picking up the blitz. My favorite play is when Dunn picks up a 230 lbs blitzing LB and either stones him upright, or capsizes him by taking out his legs. I jump out of my seat every time. We weigh the same, but I know that I would be in a hospital if I tried something like that.

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Postby mickvick302 » Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:25 pm

meansonny wrote:I've seen Dunn make some excellent blocks. I think the only time he struggles is if Vick's rolling out and Dunn can't get someone's legs. DE's are able to penetrate and brake these up (or push Vick further backfield before he has to turnupfield).

But he does an excellent job picking up the blitz. My favorite play is when Dunn picks up a 230 lbs blitzing LB and either stones him upright, or capsizes him by taking out his legs. I jump out of my seat every time. We weigh the same, but I know that I would be in a hospital if I tried something like that.


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Postby buddyboy » Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:07 pm

dunn is a strong dude. i remember when he was going to fl st. he was one of the strongest guys on the team, and not pound for pound. it's deceptive on him because his strength comes from his core: torso and upper legs. his arms really aren't that big but he's strong where he needs to be. plus he has great technique, he goes down when has to, to avoid the big hit, and knows how to use his body when blocking. a lot of that stuff u just can't teach.

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Postby Steve-O » Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:11 pm

he does have some big ol' thick legs...

I too love watching Dunn stand up players that he weighs 80 lbs less than...

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Postby Pudge » Sat Nov 12, 2005 2:28 am

Dunn is by far the better blocker, but I have noticed that Duckett has improved his blitz pickup this year. It's not a strength, but he's not making the same dumb mistakes and is being a bit more physical when he lines up back there.

Before he was a complete liability, but now if Dunn went down for a few games, the offense could still function somewhat normally if Duckett was in there are passing downs. We wouldn't have to rely on Justin Griffith, like we had to with Bob Christian in previous years whenever our 3rd down RB got hurt.
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