Dolphins' Williams impressed by Patriots


Dolphins' Williams impressed by Patriots

By Mary Paoletti

Ricky Williams wasn't happy with the way Miami lost its regular season finale, 38-7, to the Patriots this weekend.

On Monday, he let everybody know about it.

"Usually after a rough season there's a sense of relief when it's over with, but I didn't feel like that," Williams told WQAM-560s Sid Rosenberg. "It's the contrast with what they have going on in New England and what we have going on here, and it's a very stark contrast."

Williams just completed his seventh season with the Dolphins. It might be his last. Once happy in Miami, the running back made it sound like the Week 17 loss at Gillette -- the end cap of a three-game skid -- was the climax of some steadily rising frustration. The Patriots had their playoff spot clinched well before kickoff and had little more to earn.

But they outplayed Miami in every phase of the game.

"New England had less to play for than we did . . . and they played harder than any team we played all year, and I just expect that from my team," he said. "I'm not angry at my teammates. Im angry at the situation. Thats the coaches, myself, teammates, thats everyone. Thats the whole environment that we have there, and Im just frustrated that its not better."

Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano bears the brunt of Williams' criticism. The team left New England with a 7-9 overall record, including seven losses at home. According to Williams, poor coaching decisions have everything to do with Miami's mediocrity.

What were Sparano's sins? They range from "losing the locker room" to failing to create a winning environment. Williams pointed to Rob Ninkovich -- Patriots linebacker whom Sparano cut in 2008 -- as a player whose improvement was fostered by a successful franchise.

Ninkovich recorded four tackles (three for a loss), two sacks of QB Chad Henne, and a fumble recovery on Sunday.

Its not based on Ninkovich necessarily making plays," Williams said. "Its just based on him buying into a winning tradition."

Henne's lackluster performance also put himself in the line of fire. He went 6-for-16, got sacked three times, and threw an interception against the Patriots before being replaced in the third quarter.

When Williams was asked about the main difference between New England and the Dolphins, he didn't hesitate.

They have a quarterback, he said.

Williams enters the offseason as a free agent, the time since he was drafted by New Orleans in 1999. The running back made it clear that he's ready to move on from Miami. Would he talk with the Patriots? He certainly has a high opinion of Bill Belichick's team. But compared to Sparano's squad, any team is a better team for Williams.

"Im excited to see what happens.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.