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Bush decision could put spotlight on Thomas

Pregame before today's Dolphins game at Arizona will be interesting because the decision whether to play running back Reggie Bush will truly be made then, I'm told by a source.

I expect Bush, the Dolphins leading rusher, will try to be active for the game and in his usual starting role. But one never knows after a cross-country flight and sleeping in an unfamiliar bed how the knee he injured last week against the New York Jets will react. I told you last week Bush would miss one game at worst.

The Dolphins are hoping it doesn't come to that worst-case scenario. So come back here for the update.

If Bush is unable to play it will put much pressure on reserve Daniel Thomas, who is among the players I write in my column today that need to start performing better than they did the first three games of the season.

Today marks the NFL season's Week 4  and that means one quarter of the season will be done after today.

But with that marker looming, the Dolphins are needing and hoping for more production out of Thomas, out of Ryan Tannehill, out of Cameron Wake, and out of Richard Marshall. All of them are starting players. All of them have done some good things.

The Dolphins simply need them to deliver better than they have so far if the team is to stay anywhere near .500. The Dolphins need improvement from all of them and that's fair because all are capable of playing better.

Why is improvement so important from those guys?

Well, as I report in the column, we should not expect a cavalry charge of talent to be added via trade the rest of this season. So forget that idea of adding a last-minute receiver gifted to Miami by some other team before the trade deadline.

Comments

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Mr Sal are the Dolphin experts making picks this week on this blog?

We need better pass coverage from everyone period. Our defense is in need of sacks and turnovers. The run defense has been solid to this point. Lets go get a big win today!

Second place baby!!!

D Thomas is a horrible excuse for a RB.

Miller is better then Thomas....

hey zonk, you mean "Miller is different than Thomas"......I dont get why fans and Mando compare them when writing about them--they're totally different types of backs, not necessarily "one or the other"--I'd use 2 RBs almost all the time because thats our strength, and bring the 3rd in often for a change of pace, or to use on passing downs, or however.....its the coaches job to figure it out--plus, Miller and Thomas could be your tandem next year if Bush isnt re-signed......so think bigger/long term picture, ok?

Vegas--why do you say that?--the dude has only just begun his 2nd year in the league and averages 3.5 yards/carry, not awful considering he's been limited by injuries (hard to knock him for a concussion, they just happen)--had 2 100 yd rushing games last yr (1 was a few yards shy actually) so he just needs to stay healthy--but not sure how those stats, in a very short sample size, equate to a "horrible excuse" for a RB--?

I'd love to see Bush play, but at the same time I feel the best decision would be to rest him this game. With his injury history why not just let his knee fully heal before sending him back in thru a pile of DLmen. I understand he gives us the best chance to win but if we let him sit this week he should be fine for the rest of the season. If they have no plans of resigning him OR wanna resign him for a lower salary by telling his agent "yeah, he's still injury prone, we want to offer less" than why not throw him out there, otherwise Miller will suffice as the 'change-of-pace' back for this game unless his pass protection is that much of a liability.

Most of Thomas's runs seem like their 2 yds or less. He has the occasional 8 yd run to bolster his average. With the Fins OL he should be better. He isnt.

not sure what his runs "seem" like, but his average is 3.5 yes/carry--bottom line--you could say the same for all/most RBs I guess, because an avg/carry is apples to apples......many of them probably get bigger/chunk yards in some carries, over others, and I have no idea how other RBs get those yards, but it doesnt matter--its just a reasonable point of comparison when looking at all RBs, thats all--and I'm not saying that a 3.5 yard avg is great.....its not and needs to be up toward 4/carry, but there are alot of solid RBs who average less--I agree he needs to improve.

...I hope I am wrong. But I do not see how we have a real chance to win this game. Just from an offensive standpoint. How do we attack this defense? I will bet that the Phins will see a bunch of overloded looks, with a saftey in the box for run support. The Cards have a very good secondary, and will be begging the Phins to try and beat them over the top. Maybe we can, and if so. We may have a chance. If not, we can run the ball all day. Even keep it close. I just think the Cards are going force the ball into the hands of Tanny to make a mistake..The question is when, not if.

I do think the game will be close...I think we will do a good job contaning their run game, and putting some pressure on Kolb. I just can't see how we will score enough points offesnivley to win..I'll bet the under, and the Phins to cover.

"Thomas needs to work toward being a better player because, so far, his fumbling has been a disappointment. He has two fumbles, which is bad because he has played in two games and one fumble per game is a ticket to the running back unemployment line."

Armando, you have been harping on Thomas quite a bit in favor of Lamar Miller. Hurricane sentiments aside, does it not make more sense to have a better blocker with a rookie QB versus a marginally better runner? You have been harping on the 2 fumbles but Thomas was basically knocked out on the first fumble which is why he was out for the second game. I am not sure that this is as big an issue as you make it seem. Just my opinion.

go finssssssssss

basically most every nfl game is close. zona pulls away late, 20-3

If these named players can play better then why havent they. Its plan to see none of these named players encluding Tannehill are NFL worthy. Did anyone ever state that Marino needed t o play better. Jeffery has saddled us with another dim light bulbs. The light just doesnt glow, they just arent good enough. If we had kept Marrshall, drafted two rush linebackers, like Seattle, wed at least have Moore at QB and rush LIBs giving opposing QBs a fit. We,ve got Wake whos fast asleep. Wake up Wake.

good points calverton.......from the columns we've all read, it seems pretty clear that Miller doesnt block very well, at least not yet, so that could be a disaster for our rookie QB---thats very likely the reason he's not getting more playing time, has very little to do with whether he's a better runner than Thomas--and I said the same thing earlier.....its pretty hard to fault Thomas for the fumble on the hit when he got the concussion.....its pretty clear he was in a daze so not shocking that he couldnt hold on to the ball--yeah, its a fumble, but gotta consider the circumstances.

Miller is a much better runner then Thomas. Its not even close. Thomas will be demoted to the 3rd RB option in the very near future...or as soon as Miller can block a little. Zero break away ability for Thomas.

The difference between Thomas and Miller is that Thomas is not a threat to take it to the end zone from our 20 in one play and Miller is. That is the bottom line.

Thomas cannot run outside as he is always caught before reaching the edge, Miller gets to the edge faster than any Dolphins back since someone wearing number 22 used to do it.

yeah, most 230 lb RBs dont have break away ability, so why would you expect him to?--thats not his style, never has been, he's a between the tackles power back.....but whats wrong with that?--they're different styles and both have a fit--our running game is our strength so I'd give them all 15-20 attempts or touches/game, keeps them all reasonably fresh--just pound the ball, or use them in the passing game-I'd even get Thigpen 5-10 touches/game-focus on our strength.

Thomas is better than Ronnie Brown and he was the second pick in draft,I like the use of all three backs.
The Dolphins hace big $$$ invested in LB's that's the group that needs to step up.

thomas not better than brown. brown had great hands and vision

jpao, from last blog, great assessment of the personnel, agree 100% with your grades (though IMO the LBs have performed better this year, and their stock is rising, including Misi. I also am liking Odrick more, and I've been one of his biggest detractors).

DD, just given the fact this is the NFL, there is ALWAYS a chance to pull out a win. This is exactly the right time to play Arizona, as they have injuries at key positions and are on a high from being 3-0. They won't go 16-0, and so they need to lose sometime, why not today. I'm not saying I EXPECT or even PREDICT us to win today (just based on the cross-country trip) but it's not looking as insurmountable and even a week ago.

For me, keys to the game (even if Bush is playing) is Tannehill starting strong with the WCO short pass game. Get a WR involved. Get a TE involved. Keep the aggressive Cards defense guessing, and that will open it up for the RBs. If we get into a plodding, running, long drive offensive pattern, it's going to be a long day. On defense, pressure, pressure, pressure. All Kolb basically needs to do is throw it up to Fitzgerald, and he'll win those jump balls 90% of the time against our secondary, so Kolb can't feel comfortable or get his feet set, or else we're toast (we won't win a shootout with them).

If we do those 2 things, it's anyone's ballgame. Hopefully last week's close loss will get these guys emotional and willing to put it all on the line so as not to lose a close game this week.

bill, I agree, Thomas is NO Ronnie Brown. With that said, I don't really have anything against Thomas, other than his fumblitis. It's silly saying his yards per carry isn't where Bush/Miller's are. They are different types of backs. Thomas IS the big bruiser to get the tough yardage. Bush/Miller are home run hitters. And you need both.

And don't blame Thomas for where he was drafted and what we gave up to get him. That's plain stupid. That was the GM's doing, not the player. Judge Thomas for what HE'S in control of. If he keeps fumbling, then he'll be gone, and rightly so. If he gets that under control, I see a place for him on the team this year and into the future.

just saying that they should find a way to use all of our RBs a lot, including Lane and Thigpen--different styles but they have 5 backs who are all talented, all young so can handle the workload--protects our QB and our weak passing game, so use them all and run the ball, and/or mix in short passes to them--we'd be 2-1 if we ran it more last week, especially at key times.

agree dc, hes a solid backup rb

I think Dolphins can win this game with a balanced attack, keep the Cardinals guessing slow down their pass rush, and as far as Kolb goes, I am not afraid of him, Larry F is an outstanding player but this is all they have on the offense side, don't let him beat us and run the football we have a good chance at a win today go Fins

for those thinking it should be "Miller OR Thomas", you're missing the point--use them BOTH, especially with our crappy passing game--give Lane 5-10 carries/game too, dude's a stud--Thigpen if needed--fresh legs, Tannehill doesnt get creamed, focuses less on our crappy passing game--Miller and Thomas (and Bush, etc).

scott, I'd even double or triple team Fitzgerald (though in the past, the WR STILL makes the catch -- as in Andre Johnson last year or maybe the year before who made a miraculous catch in traffic, Santonio Holmes last week, etc.). I agree, deny Larry the big play, and they will have to work for points. Let's see how smart the DC is and see if he does that.

scott--problem is we dont have a balanced attack.....our WR/TE talent is mediocre at best, no one demands a double team or even much safety help (which is the major problem)--but we can win, or at least be competitive, if we manage the clock/game with our running attack.

Are you serious Mando? Nobody knows how his knee will respond after a cross country flight and sleeping in an unfamiliar bed? Pretty sure the first class flight on a team plane and the couple of nights at the Ritz Carlton suite won't affect his knees!

Bobby B maybe your being a smartass but truth is nobody can be certain how a knee that has been swelling and bruised will respond to the pressurized cabin of an airplane traveling at 38,000 feet for five or six hours.

Think before you post and sound like a fool.

I'd just sit Bush today, no doubt about it--yes, I'm sure he wants to play and probably can (will), and we certainly need him......but we also need him, badly, for the next 12 games, and since he's probably not 100% or even that close, the injury risk is too high, when you consider how many more games he'd miss if he's injured further--sit him, unfortunately......but that also gives the other RBs and opportunity.

Why do people like to compare Thomas to Miller? They are not the same kind of running back. Daniel is a bruiser back while Miller is more like Bush. I think we have a shot at winning this game if we can limit turnovers!!

Thomas has 2 game changing fumbles out of 3 games with limited touches. 3.2 a carry isnt getting it done either. Its up to him to change the way we feel towards him by getting the job done every chance he gets. Today could be one of those chances.

Bush had a big fumble as well but he gets a pass because of his big play ability.

Although Im not guaranteeing a win, I look for this to be Tannehill's best overall game thus far as a rookie. Howevever, if we do pull out the surprising victory, here's the formula that will make it work:

1. Tannehill throws for 250 plus yardage, 2tds, 0 ints.

2. 0 offensive turnovers.

3. At least 3 none scoring defensive stops. An offense typically gets 6-7 possessions per game.

isn't it a lil early for heroin?

D Thomas wasn't a reach getting him in the 2nd rd. Some people had him rated as the 2nd or 3rd best RB that year. Remember he was a QB around 3-4 yrs ago

D Thomas fumbles today and his thus far brief Dolphins career will become even more brief. There lots at stake for the Young D Thomas when he plays today.

Fumblitis can end playing career just as fast as career ending injury. Especially when you have as many fumbles as games played.

There has been numerous successful RBs that had fumble problems early on in their careers... It's something that can be worked on and fixed.

LT had like 8 fumbles in his 1st year. Westbrook and Barber...

Vick has 5 fumbles thus far and RGIII has 4 this ear also

He also made some great plays in the passing game we are forgetting. Both games this year he had big gains that were crucial. He is pretty much the reason REvis is out for the year also. His juke move was awesome on that play gained 11 yrds on a 3rd and ten off a screen.

Another great RB that fumbled a lot... Walter Payton.

DT averages about a fumble every 40 carries, which is not a good stat to have for a running back. He runs too upright and simply plows ahead - has very little in the way of moves. This is not how running backs should be in this day and age.

it's too early to do averages he's played in 2 games this year. He had 2 all last year.

B33RCA53,

D Thomas hasnt actually performed on the level of the rb's you just named. Thomas has played in 2 of our 1st 3 games(out with concussion 1 game). He cant stay on that pace(15 for the year) and stay nfl employed.

Thomas needs to at least put 4-5 games in a row not fumbling to regain his coaches trust. A fumble today, and I pretty much guarantee Thomas wont see anymore action today after that. 3 fumbles in 3 straight appearances will gety you benched.

Armando, if the spotlight is on D Thomas we have no chance!

If Thomas was any good they wouldnt have had to use another high pick on another RB.

Neither were people too impressed with them in their 3rd game in year 2 of their respective careers... All I'm saying it's too early to start labeling him a bust. He is raw but your blind if you think he doesn't have talent. Coaches have been impressed by him. Let's just wait til we know. I agree it'd be glaring if there's another fumble today but to give up on him already would be foolish. Last year he had a couple games where he showed he can be productive. IMO he was always a project that is solid. So far take away the fumbles and he's been good.

4th rd pick is not a high pick. And Miller was a steal. Nobody expected him to fall past the 2nd. Personally I had him rated above Doug Martin. He's a different type of back. And prolly picked up to be a backup plan to Bush leaving per chance.

RGIII has 4 fumbles in 3 games how many is that for the year? Do you expect him to fumble 20 times?

B33RCA53 , the coaches have benn very dissapointed in Thomas. The guy is a bust as sure as chyt.

I think people are too tough on this kid. His first fumble was a concussion and the second i always thought his knee was down but the officials could not guarantee that from the reviews. It's true though, if he fumbles again he might not see the ball again.

Nat Moore that is false. From what they've said in interviews they are impressed. You are ignorant.

When Irescum traded 3 picks for D Thomas the draft room broke out in hysterical laughter. LOL

let the trolling begin...

Sparano called Thomas "dissapointing". He'll be cut as soon as his contract is up IMO.

Be heading out to the stadium soon. Will tweet out a few pics along the way @conandunham. Go Dolphins!

What stadium?

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