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A look at the running game with Miller, Thomas

I've been saying for several weeks the Dolphins have not decided on a starting running back. Yesterday, Joe Philbin said it. And in my column for The Herald's print editions, I detailed how it is that perhaps Daniel Thomas is now ahead of Lamar Miller for the starting job, and how it is Miller hasn't snatched the opportunity that was presented to him.

Mike Sherman, Miami's offensive coordinator, believes if the regular-season started tomorrow, the Dolphins would basically have a platoon system because neither Miller nor Thomas has earned extra carries. 

"I think Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas are competing neck and neck," Sherman said. "They both have their strengths. I think their competition has brought out the best of them on most occasions. I'm anxious to see how we play this season. Obviously, I think, if we were playing tomorrow, both guys would get plenty of snaps in the ball game."

So why is this running back competition so important in a pass-first, quarterback driven league?

Well, for the Dolphins, it's important because they want balance in the offense. It's important because the offensive line needs protection from rushers just teeing off, and it's important to help quarterback Ryan Tannehill do his job.

“It’s huge," Tannehill said. "It is a passing league but if you can run the football effectively, it takes so much pressure off a quarterback and an offense in general. If teams know you’re going to throw every down, they can throw their rush at you. They can tee off on our tackles and it kind of limits the deceptiveness of anything you can do. So it’s really important for us. And we’ve done a good job of it so far."

Really? They've done a good job?

I know both Miller and Thomas are averaging 4.1 yards per carry this preseason. But a couple of years ago, Reggie Bush averaged 5.0 yards per carry and last year he was at 4.3 yards per carry and the Dolphins still finished 7-9.

Miami needs to do better than 4.1 yards per carry which is just .1 yards above the traditional league average.

 “It could be better, just like the passing game could be better," Tannehill admitted. "But that’s something we’re practicing for. We’re going into preseason week three. It’s not going to be perfect right now. We’re working on it. It will continue to be better.”



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As a person who has been a big supporter of Tannehill, I have one clear knock on him. He did it last year and he is still doing it. I blame the coaches for this. When a QB drops back in a 3, 5, or 7 step drop, on your last step your momentum should be moving forward back into the pocket. Too many times Tannehill will stand flat footed not moving forward. If your moving forward just 6 inches to a foot, normally the outside rusher will not have the angle on you. Multiple times he got flushed out to right when he should of stepped up in the pocket with no one there. Jeff Garcia had a bad habit of this. Marino never came close to this.

Watch the next game to see what I mean.

I have seen plenty of improvement from Clay, D. Thomas, JMart, Miller not so much. Philbin says that as a Coach, he's more of a Teacher. I'm beginning to believe him.

ESPN People very dumb.

I really don't understand this teams fascination with Daniel Thomas, he is an average back in the NFL. The player with the highest upside and potential to be special is Miller, you don't find a lot of backs with his kind of speed. He needs to clean up certain things, like not dropping easy passes out of the backfield. However, he is only 22 with only 1 year under his belt and limited carries. He needs more playing time, you don't learn from the bench. Daniel Thomas in the other hand has been in the NFL for 3 years now, if he was anything special he would have shown it by now.

Miller is a rhythm back, hard to establish a rhythm in preseason when you are getting 3 carries per game.

I knew and wrote it that Tannehill would be a big headache for Philbin. Ryan is highly intelligent and his style as QB is as a gunslinger. Not he model of QB that fits Philbin's philosophy. What to do? I don't know. Wishing Philbin best of luck.

Potential is for the birds, we want performance.

You know, a thought occurred to me the other day about Ryan T. His heart might not be all in this Football thing. These Doctors and future Doctors are weird birds, not the ones to follow the pre-conceived line. If so, my advise to him, play 2 or 3 years get the most you can out of this Team then do as Doug Swift, now a successful Surgeon did, retire.

Mark, I'm interested in the fantasy league your doing. Can you give Me some information on what its about? Do you pick players at the beginning of the season or do you pick new players every week?

reg come on if u dont know the answer then u shouldnt be doing fantasy

Dusty we have fantasy football over here, and not just 1 version. 😉

I am currently in a league where you can transfer players after each game week. Another one is where there is 1 transfer window in January just like in real life. Is it the fantasy football on nfl.com?

still Ol is having some problems in working as a unit

As long as we do not turn the ball over!

Miami needs to do better than 4.1 yards per carry which is just .1 yards above the traditional league average.

What is this "traditional" league average? Is that something different than just the league average?

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