Miami Dolphins Running Backs Still Lacking

Lamar Miller is a fine running back, and we can begin with that.

However, he is far from elite.  He doesn’t break tackles as often as other RBs.  He doesn’t seem to run great pass routes when he’s asked to do so.  I don’t mean RB screen passes;  I mean passes more in the middle.   And although Miller is a 1,000 rusher and that is nothing to diminish, still a 1,000-yard-season means that he only needs to average 62 yards per game to hit a thousand yards.    If he didn’t break that huge run in Week 17 vs. the Jets, we’d be talking about him as a 900+ yard rusher.  It was that close.

Jay Ajayi’s knees will determine how impactful Jay Ajayi will be.

Daniel Thomas is a bigger, slower back, but I like the way he runs his pass patterns.  He doesn’t knife through the holes in the offensive line as quickly as others, but he’s been more or less reliable.

Knowshon Moreno was a project.  It worked for a week, then disappeared.   He excelled when he was in there, so I hope the Dolphin executives at least consider bringing him back.

I liked Mike Gillislee as a faster version of Miller, but his injury forced us to wait to see what, if anything, he brings to the table.

LaMichael James seemed to have a lot of time and opportunity last year to earn some playing time, but he didn’t   That could be Joe Philbin’s choice, or it could be James just didn’t do enough to earn his time.  I do like this guy, and as he begins his first full year with the team, I hope he battles hard to show us what he’s made of.

That brings us to rookie Jay Ajayi.   An interesting draft pick.  It could be an incredible pick.  We got Ajayi in the 5th round, and early mock drafts thought he could go much higher.  NFL teams avoided him due to his knee and other injury problems.  The Dolphins took a chance, and I’m glad they did.  This isn’t a number 3 overall pick where the Dolphins should have done their homework.  It was only a fifth rounder, and worth the risk even if Ajayi doesn’t pan out.  But I think he will.

What do you guys think of our running game?

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  1. I think our running game will be better than last year with an improved O-line and a more dangerous passing game. I really only have confidence in Miller, Ajayi, & Damien Williams. Thomas & Gilisslee may not even make the club. James may just be a KO return guy. An effective 1 -2 punch with Miller/Ajayi is something I’m looking forward to.

  2. Admin it’s rear that you have back to back coloums that I don’t agree with but……..

    I guess we find ourselfs at that time of year……lol

    You stat that Miller could have easily only had 900 yards?

    Do you realize that despite having NO TALENT behind him in the RB department last year he never got more then 20 carries a game?

    and for that matter in his 3 years in Miami has only had more then 15 carries a game a handful of times?

    Yet he ran for over 1k last year…….

    In spite of the fact that for the last 7 game he ran behind another very poor OL

    In my book I give the man a lot of credit to accomplish that and I certainly wouldn’t diminish it by stating in the same paragraph that perhaps Daniel Thomas might be the better choice. In my opinion hes had his chances and proved nothing except that he will drop the 3rd down pass or fumble it in critical situations.

    I could care less if he runs better slant routes because he can’t seem to constantly do anything with them.

    I don’t put any stock in anyone behind Miller. I do like Gillislee but I believe he will live on the injured reserve list every year we have him.

    Jay Ajayi I love! I hope he eventually beats out miller and I think he may have the skill set to do it and I wouldn’t have minded taking him in the higher rounds.

    If the OL can improve (Something we haven’t seen in 6 years) Miller and Ajayi have the skills to make a good tandem since Philbin wont let miller take the lead.

  3. Author

    Believe me, I wishh Miller got more carries last year just like you. How many times did we have 3rd-and-inches (and I write about these all the time) and Philbin/Lazor called for a 5-wide formation and had Tannehill fade back 7-steps. Seven steps backwards and then hoping someone was open to gain a few inches? Why not let Miller dive for it? Plays like that killed me.
    Too many first-down passes also. Give it to Miller on first down consistently and let’s see where he takes us. I fully agree…we had chances to give him the ball a lot more, but Philbin didn’t want to go there. Why?
    But you also have to remember all the tims Millerran right into a pile of his own men for no gains. Miller has to recognize that the O-line was a bad as we all know. Even in the back of his mind, he has to prepare himself for a busted play and no blocking…maybe take a new route or try to escape around end. But no…he ran right into the pile far too often. It’s the line’s fault for not plowing through the D, but it’s Miller’s fault (at least somewhat) for sticking with the called play instead of improvising. That’s where I miss Reggie Bush the most.

    1. I don’t think that philbin give ANY of his players the flexibility to improvise.

      We know he refuses to do so with Tannahill

      I’m sure that was part of the problem Wallace had with philbin because in Pittsburgh half his catches came on plays where he and his QB improvised.

      I wouldn’t be shocked to learn one day that miller wasn’t allowed to cut back to the weak side on busted plays

  4. Author

    Also, I saw an article in the Herald about Joe Philbin preparing the team better for December, keeping them fresh, etc. How about Joe not handing free victories to the Packers and Lions in October, which would have given us a lot of momentum and energy in December.

    1. Now that I completely agree with!!!

  5. IMO, Ajayi was the 3rd most talented RB in the entire draft AND the best overall scheme fit for the Miami Dolphins offense.

    The guy runs with physicality between the tackles and is a great pass catcher/good pass blocker. That’s exactly what is needed in this offense. I think a Miller/Ajayi tandem is really going to balance out this offense. That’s a scary thought when you consider all the size and skill we added at WR and TE. And yes, a healthy Cameron is way, way better than Clay…who stays banged up as well btw.

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