Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dolphins lose RB Patrick Cobbs for season; sign RB Kory Sheets

The Miami Dolphins have lost their third-string tailback and a valued special-teamer for the remainder of the 2009 season, as running back Patrick Cobbs has been placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL.

Cobbs suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of the Dolphins' 31-27 victory over the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.

A fourth-year player out of North Texas, Cobbs has appeared in 37 games for the Dolphins over four seasons, rushing for 172 yards while adding another 313 yards as a receiver.

Replacing Cobbs on the Dolphins' roster will be rookie running back Kory Sheets, who was signed off the San Francisco 49ers' practice squad.

Background

A Connecticut native, Sheets red-shirted at Purdue in 2004. He earned Freshman All-American honors from The Sporting News in 2005 after rushing for 571 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Over the next two seasons from 2006 to 2007, Sheets rushes for 22 touchdowns and over 1,600 yards.

Sheets experienced his best season as a senior in 2008, rushing for a career-high 1,131 yards and 16 touchdowns on his way to honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.

After going undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft, Sheets signed with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in all four of the team's preseason games in 2009, rushing for 177 yards and three touchdowns.

Sheet was waived by the 49ers during final cuts on Sept. 5 and re-signed to the practice squad, where he remained until being signed by the Dolphins on Oct. 14.

Sheets will wear No. 22 in Miami, which was most recently worn by cornerback Joey Thomas. Since he was signed off the 49ers' practice squad, Sheets must remain on the Dolphins' active roster for at least three weeks. He likely signed a two- or three-year contract for the league minimum.

Analysis

As unfortunate as it is, the loss of Cobbs is more emotional than practical. It sucks because he's a likable player and hard worker. He's a standout special teams player that contributed on offense occasionally.

That being said, Cobbs simply isn't vital to the Dolphins' success—especially on offense—and things are still going to run (no pun intended) without him. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, along with a powerful line, are what make the Miami running game go, and it will continue to do so.

With the injury, Lex Hilliard moves into the third-string running back role, and could see the occasional action on offense.

A fan-favorite in the '09 preseason, Hilliard has been purely a special teams player to this point. He showed some strength and power running the ball in the preseason, but it's hard to gauge just how good a guy actually is against other teams' camp bodies.

Sheets doesn't have much power as a rusher, but he does have good speed and athleticism. He also has experience as a kickoff returner, and could eventually compete for that role with the Dolphins given the fact that it was Cobbs' job and the team doesn't seem to want to use Ted Ginn, Jr. there.

However, it remains to be seen if Sheets will initially be active on game days for the Dolphins. He'll have to contribute on kick and punt coverage to be so, as he's pretty far from seeing any time on offense.

One positive from this whole thing is that the Dolphins now have two Kory's—Sheets and practice squad tight end Sperry—compared to the other 31 NFL teams' zero Kory's. So we have that going for us.