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Run game needs more chances to be explosive

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin wants more explosive runs out of the running game.

“I would like to see a little more explosiveness. We had one explosive run. They all count. I’ve been around the game long enough to know every single run counts. Both sides of the football, you can play great run defense on 25 snaps, but if you give up a 75-yarder or 70-yarder, you are still giving up five-and-a-half yards a run. They all count, but I would like to have a little more consistency in terms of the explosive (plays)," the coach said this week.

"If we can get two to three a game every single game as opposed to none against Cleveland, two against Indy and one (against Atlanta) ... that would be good."

This also would be good:

Run the ball enough to actually get explosive runs.

The Dolphins last week against Atlanta ran the ball 15 times. And two of those were scrambles by quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

So offensive coordinator Mike Sherman called 40 passing plays (five of those turned into sacks) and 13 running plays against the Falcons. That is nearly a 4-1 pass-run ratio. Weeeeee, wide open football time.

The week before, Sherman was a bit more balanced although nowhere near a 60-40 split of pass to run. The Dolphins called 41 pass plays and 22 run plays against the Colts, which is nearly a 2-1 pass-run ratio.

This isn't a critique of the Dolphins offensive balance (or lack of balance) because they pass the football so often. The NFL is, after all, about passing the football. I like that Miami is a passing team. It beats being stuck in the 1970s.

But I also like expectations of the run game to be balanced against the reality of what is happening on the field. One cannot expect more explosive plays when one's offensive coordinator isn't calling very many runs.

If Philbin and the Dolphins are expecting more than one big running play per game and, more specifically, expecting more production from Lamar Miller, the number of opportunities have to go up.

Miller has carried the football 32 times so far this season. He's averaging 4.2 yards per carry. But anyone who watched Miller at the University of Miami knows his typical game would go something like this:

Five-yard gain. Three-yard gain. Four-yard gain. One-yard gain. One-yard loss. Three-yard gain. 55-yard gain. Six-yard gain. And so on.

He would usually deliver a big run in the game and sometimes two. But he needed carries to get there. He needed work and opportunities to break out.

The most Miller has carried the ball for the Dolphins in one game so far? Fourteen times versus Indianapolis. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry that game. His eight carries against Atlanta returned a whopping 7.8 yards per carry average.

Miller averaged more yards per rush (7.8) than the Dolphins averaged passing yards per dropback (5.9). Indeed, he even averaged more yards than quarterback Ryan Tannehill averaged per pass attempt (6.7).

Why does this matter? No, it's not because anyone is pounding on a table demanding Miller carry the ball more often. It's definitely not because anyone wants the Dolphins to become an out-of-step-with-modern-times running team.

It's because running the football often enough to succeed promises so many dividends.

Running the football enough gives you a balanced offense. Suddenly the safeties that cheat toward receivers Mike Wallace or Brian Hartline have to play straight.

"It opens things up for Mike and those guys to stretch the field and make some big plays," offensive tackle Tyson Clabo said.

Running the football enough increases the offense's time of possession. It's hard to win the game when the other team has the football more. The Dolphins did it the past two weeks, but that is tempting fate.

Running the football enough helps your defense. This is particularly important against elite quarterbacks such as Drew Brees. If the Dolphins are able to go into the Superdome Monday night and run the ball effectively enough to keep Brees mostly on the sideline, the chances of giving up more plays to Brees on defense decrease. And that's a good thing for Miami.

Running the football enough helps in cold weather. The running game is not as affected by tough climes as much as the passing game. November and December are coming and teams that can run well have a built-in small advantage. (And when you consider every venue in the AFC East is open to the elements, every little bit helps).

Running the football more helps you to, well, run the football better. The Dolphins need to do it to get better at it.

"I think our run game has gotten better every week," Clabo said. "We were more consistent the week before and last week we had the big run. I think we're working to improve week to week. We just have to do it."

Finally, running the football enough is a weapon in the playoffs. Yes, I said the p-word. The Dolphins are 3-0. Seventy-four percent of teams that start 3-0 make the playoffs. It's not wrong to improve a vital facet of the team now that will be important in the playoffs.

My suggestion on how to maximize the Dolphins running game?

Obviously running it more is a theme here. But splitting the runs more intelligently might be almost as good.

So far this season Miller has carried the ball only nine times more than Daniel Thomas (32-21). The two backs are close to splitting carries. Well, perhaps it's time to not split carries. Thomas is averaging 3.1 yards per gain and his long gain is 12 yards. He's not typically going to come up with a 50- or 60-yard run.

So stop splitting the carries.

Give Miller more carries. Give Thomas fewer carries. Make Thomas the true change-of-pace back rather than a near-equal partner in the backfield. Defer, as the statistics and the eyes suggest, to the better breakaway threat.

"I think we are making some progress," Philbin said. "We certainly have some room to grow.”

Watch the video of Miller below to see what I told you about giving Miller more work:

Comments

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You never know, I heard Chip Kelly just might try ANYTHING-LOL!

Posted by: odinseye | September 27, 2013 at 11:24 PM

Kelly had me going until that ridiculous formation at the goaline Vs. K.C. with everybody spread with a wide snap which unfolded slow enough that if I were an opposing DC and he showed it again I'd line up my LB's outside the bunch set and as soon as the Center motioned that loooong delivery (as soon as he moves that singles motion) I'd simply try to attack the snap in flight at worst if I don't get the ball I can either cause a fumble or huge loss, really gotta be the goofiest formation I've ever seen in a live reg Season NFL game!

We are going no where without a running game.

I saw Logan Thomas the VT QB at IHOP today. For Real.

MF,

Yes, the holes on the big runs were huge, but what separates L.Miller from other RBs is his Pure Speed. If Everyone does their Job L.Miller can take it the Distance from anywhere on the Field.

I am personally disappointed I thought L.Miller would be having a better season. Still a lot of season left. Maybe after the Bye Week. If not start rotating Linemen in.

L.Miller is still only 22.

At What age did Reggie or Ronnie have their First 1000yd Season.

We all Know you give L.Miller the Ball 20 Times about 10 will go for at least 10 and 5 will go for over 20. Yes he will have about 5 No gains. But what makes L.Miller better than even Tannehill is that L.Miller Doesn't Fumble!!

The Season is Still early and L.Miller needs to prove he can start all 16. We don't want another Reggie Bush on our hands.

We are all still waiting for that First 100 yd game. He could have had it against the Falcons with 2 More carries.

Sherman already is opening up the Playbook he has a WR playing QB.

I don't see nothing wrong with Tannehill Throwing the Ball 600 Times this Season. He isn't making mistakes with the Ball.

Who Would've thought we have our Franchise QB and Franchise RB at the same time. Now we just need to Fix that Line. #1 Priority now and in the Off season. We need more talent on the O-Line.

While other young QBs are running children playbooks. Tannehill has been reading from the Good Book for a while now. If the Line gives him Time Tannehill can throw for 400 yds. He has done it with no WRs.

He needs to throw for at least 300 to beat D.Brees at home.

Were you the Guy predicting a 4 win season for the Air Breathing Mamals-LOL?
Posted by: odinseye | September 26, 2013 at 11:36 PM

No Odin, I was preaching 7 and 9....
Though unless the injury's stop I'am keeping
with 7and 9......
You cant stop injury's....
GO PHINS...

Looking back at our last three games, I see a lot of mistakes. I see mistakes in coverage, contain, and tackling on D. I see mistakes in catching, blocking, and route recognition between WR and QB. I see these things in our team and every team that I break down on NFL rewind--I love this birthday present.
Please excuse my digression, but I have seen these things repeatedly from our beloved Dolphins over the years.
The one thing that I see that I have not been seeing from our boys over the last many years is that we are also making plays. We are forcing fumbles, making clutch catches and tackles,getting key first downs and preventing likewise.
Expecting perfection is unrealistic, aspiring to it is professional.
Making plays wins games.

Lamar Miller = another Irescum bust

I saw Logan Thomas the VT QB at IHOP today. For Real.

Posted by: ExposingTheFraud | September 27, 2013 at 11:56 PM

No one cares! Go Hoos!

Just kidding BTW! I live in C-Ville.

Good read Mando!

Aside from establishing the run for the reasons noted, defenses won't be able to send exotic blitzes if they have to worry about a huge gain on a run play, as they will have to keep someone back to play cutback lanes.

In short, big run gains= simpler defenses=easier reads for the QB

Good to see baiter boy is still at work. Also good to see that classless sign in name absolved.

I like the Austin acquisition. This guy is a player. He is a classic example of a player that was put into a sition and the sitio prevailed.
He is not another Solia. He should be used in an athletic manner.

It is true that the O line is the last unit to gel They have many different assignments from which to choose one in a split second and all must be in synch with the other's Players. I have not seen any classic zone blocking on most occasions and neither straight ahead blocking. It has been some kind of hybrid blocking pattern which appears congested and not fluid. We have exactly the same interior linemen as last year's and only the Tackles are new. They might get better at it, but my opinion is that in the end that personnel we have now don't have the ability to fit in a mainly zone blocking scheme.

Oscar,

I fear you may be right. Pouncey and Martin look like the only 2 guys that are good fits in a zone out of our starters. I was expecting more from Dallas Thomas but it looks like he needs a lot of coaching to get there.

Mike Wallace quote: "I have to be running real fast Monday night"

So.... Mike Wallace returns to his place of birth and his life long friend is the Saints best CB.


Rumor has it, the Miami Dolphins are looking to earn some respect Monday night.

It's time...RISE.....

I told Dashi before the season started we are not a zone blocking team.
Channing Crowder even challenged the theory thru film.
But an extra TE always helps the blocking.

I am not going to disagree with you at all Oscar. But in the hybrid blocking scheme we are running; this stuff is rolling from one scheme to another. The players we have are are adapting well, but I think we will eventually need to make a more direct attack.
We are playing a capitalize on the other team's mistakes system. This is working well, but I am interested about how it presumes.

You cannot maintain 6-7 min drives without some running interspersed. I they take away the run game from us it will be a shootout, fast paced Game and will win who makes the best plays in crucial moments.

Like I said; you make plays you win games.
In the first three games we have had players to show up. Looking forward to seeing this compilation.

The papers in New Orleans are reporting how the Dolphins passed on Brees and

Jimmy Graham. And all the sacks Tannehill has taken.

I guess they forgot we Drafted Dion Jordan SPECIFICALLY for games like this...

Injury update: Marc Ingram, Lance Moore out

SORRY GUYS but I Still like the 5 to 7 min run the ball to the red zone O

Put Thomas on tradeing block get Ingram from Saints

Fine. I'll be the one to go against the grain and pick the Phins to beat the Saints. There's a reason why they play the games on the field and not on paper. Going to pick the Phins based off their talent, character, youth and the fact these guys are hungry. Sure they are a good team but so are the Phins...and we haven't played our best football yet. Sometime soon this team is going to dominate some games not from luck either but because there is a lot of talent on this team.

Surrender? Not me. I've seen a few posters here that just want us to not get hurt and play it safe. I don't get that line of thinking at all...What are you guys scared? A loss is a loss period.

Okay, just waiting for the pro highlight reel.

Just watched all millers runs...he has no lateral step, he's not very agile. He's a straight ahead runner that turns his whole body to change direction. He's fast and has utility in our offense, but is not the long term solution at rb.

I agree with Mando. Coach Philbin if you want more explosive runs try running Miller more. And by more I mean more carries for Miller than Thomas. The first 3 games Miller avg'd a little more than 10 carries per game and Thomas has 7. I don't see what advantage if any Thomas gives us over Miller in any regard or how the competition for the starting job was even close. And he's not much better of a blocker either.

I have to ask...how's Jake Long playing these days for the Rams? I got the answer for ya. So bad in fact they are bringing in Max Starks to substitute in for him because he's struggling so much. So bad in fact that he was benched in the Cowboys game. Honestly it's a shame Jake was great early in his career here but as the St Louis media said and discovered he is shell of his former self. No kidding. How's that 34 million dollar deal looking now?

And how pathetic is Jeff Fisher looking for the Rams? Good Luck with those guys Rams fans.

This article is all wrong. Our philosophy is to pass to open up running lanes. Not run the ball to open up passing, that is old school thinking and it didn't work for us in the past. Second I don't give a crap how many TD's Daniel Thomas has, he gets touchdowns at the goal line. That is one reason why Tannys TD totals were down last year (and also less this year). I would not argue he is A Peterson or anything, but he is solid at goal line, which means an asset to our team.

On a perfect team balance would be the norm.You can hope and the coaches can complain but the bottom line is that the Dolphins have spent a lot of money upgrading the passing game the last two years.They have got to play to their strengths and on offense the pass is the best way for them to win NOW.
In the future maybe even the next game the run might be more productive but whatever works and gets the win is the way they have to play.Would you bloggers complaining about balance rather they try to fix the imbalance NOW and sacrifice wins.The outcome that all the teams look for in the NFL is wins.The Dolphins are a playoff contender but they are a young team and havent been in a playoff game yet.When that time comes and if they cant win in the postseson with an imbalanced attack then the issue will have to be addressed in the offseason by the FO.
I wonder what Armando Salguero would choose balance Now or win now.He makes his living writing stories for this blog the newspaper and for his other media appearances but THIS ARTICLE is just for discussion among the bloggers he KNOWS that winning is more important than balance.

Same ole sh** different day. Averages? Whats the Dolphin won /lose average the past 6 yrs?

Since most of the players and coaches on the team right now weren't here the majority of the past 6 years...I would say their won/loss avg over that time span is irrelevant.

I don't think some of you guys are comprehending this article well. Mando is advocating primarily for Miller to get the ball more instead of splitting carries with Thomas to get more explosive plays. And that he really doesn't care about the balance part.

The run game is missing Reggie Bush. And we had plenty of cap room to pay him.

Ross/Ireland will never win one playoff game. They just arent good enough.

Coach Philbin has a higher Lifetime Win Pct than Fisher. Even Mike Sherman is a better NFL Coach.

The Rams got 3 picks for RG3. What have they turned that into?

Since most of the players and coaches on the team right now weren't here the majority of the past 6 years...I would say their won/loss avg over that time span is irrelevant.

Posted by: TruthhurTs | September 28, 2013 at 10:25 AM


The Fins get rid of all their players. Irelands drafts all get cut. Thats why they have no identity or face of the franchise.

Including preseason Philbin is 11-17.

Dashi,

Long time I haven't been called MF, since my days in the military. LOL

I agree with you and Armando, Shermy has to get more creative and get Miller more touches. Even including some passes to coming out of the back field. One thing you'll note about Miller is that he does not dance in the back field, he hits the lane or hole as he sees it developing. He's got great vision, what would drive us all crazy including the coaches is that Bush would dance around waiting for something to develop. Many times this would lead to a loss of yards.


Ryan,

Yes it does seem that Miller is a north and south runner, not much lateral step but I think that's one of his strong points in the his burst through the hole is pretty amazing with the speed and vision he has. He also has the patience to allow the play to develop.

That was the problem with Bush, he wouldn't allow the play to develop and with all the lateral movements he could establish with his hips...he'd dance back there, well...like he was on "Dancing with the Stars."


Truth & Frank,

Another thing you got to think about when it comes to run balance between Miller & Thomas, is that in certain situations the run game can become predictable. If we only use Thomas on goal line red zone situations, then your tipping your hand. Got to be careful that Thomas does not end up like Luis Polite who you knew was always getting the ball on needed short yardage, even through the man was almost always money in getting the yards needed.

Fact of the matter, Miller & Thomas compliment each other well. They are very different type of runners and a good change up, they both can also catch out of the back field. Miller also returned punts-kick off's at the U, so he could be used in that capacity. And Thomas's versality is the reason Ireland trade 3 picks to move up to get him, he's got potential that may really break out this year.

Remember, it's a LONG season so who knows what Philbin & Co will break out with these RB's by the end of the season. You just may see, Miller, Thomas, Clay, Clutts, Thiegpen, or whoever catching passes from the back field as a true style WCO runs bringing more balance to the offense.

The Fins run a zone scheme. The problem is Incognito and Jerry are to slow to reach the 2nd Level.

4 of the 5 Linemen were here last Season. Pouncey is one of the Best in the NFL, he is not the problem. J.Martin is holding his own for his 1st Season a LT, he is not the Problem.

Incognito is Solid but nothing Special. Jerry is an underachiever and doesn't fit the Scheme in any way.

Clabo Sucks!! But at least Ireland didn't give him a 4 Yr contract.

Tannehill and L.Miller need a Line they can grow with. Guys that fit their style.

Tony Sparano has a better record than Joe Philbin.

Plenty of identity on this team. We are a talented, young and hungry team that is ascending. Make no mistake this is Tannehill's team. That is our identity little hype with hard nosed fast players that are willing to work and get better.

including preseason win loss records REALLY? That's a big stretch to try and include those losses like they are meaningful but that shows us fans your mindset. LOL

Dashi,

Your right...Pouncy, Martin, Cogs (solid, nasty veteran) are they only ones that will be here next year for sure. I think Cogs contract is up next year and expect him to give a "Home Town Discount," he LOVES being a Fin and Ireland LOVES his nastiness and veteran leadership.

The others are on notice, one problem is that when guys get past the 325 pounds they get slow and don't run/move well in zone schemes. Look at Calbo, he looks like a statue that can't bend at times and gives up on plays still developing.

Unless this group starts gelling, which is possible. This O line gets purged on the off season, look for more draft choices and maybe a significant FA signing, but nothing that would break the bank. Ireland won't allow that, hear that Jake Long!

Some Finfans are as excited about Joe Philbin as they were about Tony Sparano after 11-5 LOL

We all know the Oline is the problem. We also know (or should know by now), that Daniel Thomas is a colossal wasted of time. Goal line back at best.
Time to loose the love fest with this turd and re-vamp the running back depth next year.

Jake Long is making Ireland look like a genius at this point. He's really struggling and that's before his ouchie on MNF. He's still regressing and physically unable to be the elite LT he was and is being moved inside to play.

Some Finfans are as excited about Joe Philbin as they were about Tony Sparano after 11-5 LOL

Posted by: LOL | September 28, 2013 at 11:04 AM

so true lol

d thomas = 3 irescum busts

if we had a better qb it would open up the run game

I only see the Fins keeping Martin and Pouncey the other 3 linemen have to go this off season.

why keep martin he sucks

o.k lets start running the ball more.Then we can complain and whine about not throwing the ball.I see how this sports writing for the dolphins work now.lol.DOLPHINS 42 SAINTS 35...WALLACE WILL HAVE A BREAK OUT GAME HARTLINE CATCHES THE WINNING TD WITH UNDER TWO MINUTES...yeah another nail biter.

Let's see if these players can work out this Oline mess. It's on the coaches and these players to fix it with who they have on the roster. And yes it is a mess but would like to see how it goes by week 8 before jumping to conclusions about who to replace next year.

The cheap fish wont keep Pouncey when his contract is up just like Jake Long....

Cheap Fish? The facts are in spite of your opinion. They weren't cheap when they spent big money this off season on Wallace, Ellerbe, Hartline, Wheeler or Gibson.

Really is this the best you trolls can do and that's worth posting? You guys are always wrong.

Maybe after the season we can move Martin back to RT and draft, trade for, or sign a FA LT.

The Fins spent less this year than last year. The salary cuts were bigger than the money spent. 27 mill BELOW the cap is the 2nd lowest payroll in the league.

FYI, U ARE AN IDIOT! !!

PLEASE NAME 1 OWNER THAT SPENT MORE THAN ROSS THIS YEAR??

Seriously guys? I am one of Ireland's biggest critics, but let's get off of the "cheap" and Tanny sucks bandwagon. It makes some of you sound foolish and uneducated. The Fins broke out the wallet in a huge way this offseason, and Tanny is in his SECOND year... that's 2 for those of you that can count.

They also re-shuffled the LB corp and sent players packing that were overpayed and underacheiveing. Letting Long go now looks like a great move. It's now how much you spend, but HOW you spend it.

Fix the OL, continue improving depth at every position, especially the secondary and LB corp, and make improvements at TE and RB, and this team will be a major force. We're not that far away

Really desperate to spread BS? Who cares if they spent more last year? That doesn't prove they are cheap. It just shows a willingness to improve. We cut Dansby and Burnett because of performance to upgrade the LB positions and let Long and Bush walk with their ridiculous contract demands. Not one is a regrettable loss. The team is 3-0.

Shula & FYI,

Your absolutely right! Thanks to Ireland & Philbin making really good decisions on who to keep and let go. We have some big signings next year, Solia, Starks, Grimes, Cogs, and others. Would like to keep all these guys, their vets, but keeping Solia & Starks is going to be hard cuz their gonna want to get paid. But you never know, we have a great season baring no major injuries and these guys may take less and giving a "Home Town Discount" seeing a SB Ring very possible.

On the off season, I see Ireland drafting two more DB's and maybe up to 2-3 O Lineman, also picking up another Vet on discount (acorn). Ireland & Philbin MoJo is keeping the team young, we will keep reloading through the draft. Ireland's starting to hit on his picks WITHOUT the Fat Tuna's influence.


ARMANDO,

What's the status on the Watkins player we got from Philly, when or if he's going to get any regular game playing time? Status please, oh and find out about the "Satan Practice Bubbles" name. Thx.


We cut Dansby and Burnett because of performance to upgrade the LB positions and let Long and Bush walk with their ridiculous contract demands. Not one is a regrettable loss. The team is 3-0.

Posted by: TruthhurTs

Yep. Some people like to criticize just for the sake of criticizing. I do have to take expection to one thing that you said though, just so we're being accurate. Bush was not demanding anything. It was the new regime's mindset that he wasn't the direction they wanted to go. He wanted to stay in Miami for modest money. Some here wanted him gone. Personally I think he would have been a great keep. Nobody has rung the bell in his absence. Miller could be that guy, but I see him more as a Jacquizz Rodgers complementary guy than a featured guy. Miami will need to step it up in the offseason there

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