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When the starting running back is not the starter

For five weeks, Lamar Miller was the Dolphins starting running back.

He started the first five games of the season and had more carries in each of those games. He was, in name and in fact, the starting running back.

But on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills the Dolphins got the ball first, behold, Daniel Thomas was the running back with the starters.

Daniel Thomas supplanted Miller as the starter.

But coach Joe Philbin says what everyone saw is actually not what is the truth of the matter.

"It was a more of a function of the type of plays that we were running more than Lamar hasn’t done this or Daniel has done that," Philbin said. "As I’ve said many times, we like both of those guys. Lamar actually played more snaps in the game I believe in a game. He didn’t have more carries. I believe Daniel had 12 and Lamar nine, is that accurate?

"In a coaching mind, that’s still pretty balanced in my mind. We like the way both of the guys ran the ball yesterday. I thought they both ran the ball well.”

So is Miller still the starter?

 "Yes," Philbin said.

Interesting because the switch clearly seemed to work for Thomas, who answered with his best game of the season in gaining 60 yards on 12 carries. His 5-yard per rush average was nearly twice his season average. That now has improved to 3.4 yards per carry.

Miller carried the football nine times and gained 48 yards, which was his fourth best production of the six games.

It also will be interesting if the Dolphins go back to Miller as the starter out of the gate or if the performance Sunday will convince the team to try more of the same against New England.


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No Evidence

Miller doesn't see the holes as well as I would like. A couple of perfect examples of it from Sunday, especially on a draw play where he lost a yard trying to get to the edge. Plenty of room to gain a few yards up the middle so I don't know why he ran right past the hole.

Fin4life, great post at the end of the last blog, talk you guys later

Phins78 I agree. I would not let anybody go mid season. That's just suicide. However I don't see anything changing with this staff they are stubborn to a fault so less than 8-8 is looking good right now. This sucks because I really though Philbin was going to be the answer. He reminds me of Belicheat when he was with Cleveland and if that's the case we should stay with him and make hi hire new OC and DC.

Repost! Everytime I drop one Mando puts up a new one.

In reading this it does sound as if though Sherman is taking his shots at Ireland and the depth/talent level on the team but I look at it from both points of view....

Sherman's remark about not sitting on a 1 point lead is from my prospective valid. Sherman is after all the H.C. who tried to sit on a lead in the Playoffs (in 04 I believe) in Philly were he put it on his D only to watch McNabb complete a 4th & 26 play to WR Freddie Mitchell (of all people) which costed G.B. a shot at a S.B. in a Div. Round game were they lose on a last Sec. F.G. (The Yr. Car. went Vs. the Pats)

I personally have NO PROBLEM with being aggressive in that situation but do have a problem with the personnel on the field. In that Position I would put Clay (in the backfield) and Sims (in tight formation on the line) on the field instead of the 3 WR set with D.Thomas as the lone RB. If anything it forces a Safety into the middle of the field. It also gives Clabo help at that point allowing him to focus on the inside move with help off his right shoulder and forces the LB's to stay true with a pass catching T.E. and H-Back in the backfield.

It's a shift in package were DESPITE THE RAMBLINGS OF SHERMAN I DO BELIEVE we have the talent and were I COMPLETELY DISAGREE with Sherman who not only doesn't shift but basically seems to be saying that the 3 WR set with a RB in the I-Formation is our best personnel, period end of story! He won't even shift their alignments during the game with everybody in the same spot after we supposedly signed the guys we signed because they could play all 4 WR Positions?

Ireland took a short cut with the OL last Off-Season but he had alot to address and did giving this OC and the Coaching Staff talent across the board to show/scheme better. I feel this ranting by Sherman is that of a condemned man probably done at Yrs. end and somebody better focus on the falling D well there at it going from 7th overall at the end of Sparano to 20th today with better athletes on the field playing in the wrong scheme to suit there strengths!

Thomas is still the better pass protector, and that isn't saying much. So, when Tasnnehill checks out of running plays, Thomas is the better rb to have in there.

Thomas the better pass protector, Miller the better rusher. 2 rb's and we still do not quite have a complete rb. Close, but this ain't horshoes.

Wait,,, Armando.

Why do you guys keep asking the coaches the same questions after the say they won't answer them? Does it ever work,,the jedi mind trick you guys try to use that is so utterly seethrough? lol Seriously it's pretty funny and I credit you guys for trying but I'm confused as to why. It never works!

The defence is the least of our problems. It may look worse than it is because of all Tanny''s 3 n outs and turnovers. That puts tremendous added pressure on any D.

I've never seen worse RB's on an NFL team. Thanks Ireland.

..Phins 78...Yeah you are right. I probably went overboard by saying if those who don't share my opinion about the run and losing can't see the truth..

I do feel strongly about this, I didn't mean to come off as all knowing..The omnipotent Darryl Dunphy!(lol)

I get frustrated because I think that people equate running the ball to old time football. Even conservative football, where it is far from the truth. I would argue that we would score more points if we have a more balanced offense. Rather then trying to rely so much on the pass.

This league is no longer a running league. The rules have been changed to open up the passing game. This is the time to have more talent for pass protection, WR and TE. We have the QB to carry us but we are missing the other pieces to the passing puzzle.

The NFL is a passing league. The stats prove it. The money paid to quarterbacks, receivers, pass rushers and cornerbacks prove it.

What has led to the change in the overall philosophy of a game that used to be based on running backs and the middle linebackers who tackled them? The reasons are many, and they are fascinating. They also go far beyond rule changes in recent years that protect quarterbacks and wide receivers.

it may not be a running league anymore but games are still won and lost in the trenches. You see manning and bradey getting hit and they lose.

Knowing they are going to pass the ball 70% of the time you'd think they would've known enough to keep Tannehill's safety valve Reggie Bush.

Vikings and Titans have the best RB in the NFL. What has it won for them? The old game of 3 yards and a cloud of dust are long gone. We still need a run game to use play action and too keep teams honest. But winning with the run is over.
Herein lies the problem with our current mgmt. They are from the Parcells school of 3yds and cloud of dust. However I believe they are starting to get it with moves they made in spring...eg. Wallace, Gibson and Keller.

Phins78 I agree. I would not let anybody go mid season. That's just suicide. However I don't see anything changing with this staff they are stubborn to a fault so less than 8-8 is looking good right now. This sucks because I really though Philbin was going to be the answer. He reminds me of Belicheat when he was with Cleveland and if that's the case we should stay with him and make hi hire new OC and DC.

Bill Arnsparger | October 22, 2013 at 01:32 PM

I also agree, unless you have someone IN-HOUSE to take over till the following Off-Season but the situation for the Fins is a bit dicier than Harbaugh FIRING Cam last Yr. There is a long history of Teacher/Mentor between Sherman and Philbin dating back to Sherman actually having been a Professor of his in College while giving him his 1st shot at Coaching. Ireland WILL HAVE TO force this move (as he did McKinnie who doesn't fit with Philbin) and I'd bet there's alot of grumblings behind the scenes regarding signing Leach for pass protection as well. Ireland hasn't proved the most diplomatic in the past and this move could strain relations between the F.O. and Coaches which we all know leads to all kinds of distractions from within.

Darryl, with you on balance offense or as close to it as you can get. A balanced O wins games consistently. And really the WC offense is based on running the ball as well as passing. But what happens is, we run for a while, get stopped and completely abandon the run game. Sometimes we run the ball well and for unknown reasons, wait for it....yes, abandon the run game. Wonder why?

We are about a year and a half into Tanne's career and I dont think anyone knows at this point if he is the long term answer. And that is as much to blame on him as the coaching staff/GM. No OL - no consistent RB - inconsistent D etc........ There is talent on the team I just dont think the coaches know how to use it effectively!

Nobody is going to fire Philbin...mid-season or otherwise....

Maybe Philbin fires sherman after the season...but Philbin and who ever he see fit is safe thru next year....

Steve @ 1:37

I have to disagree with you.
Our defense, particularly our secondary, is the root cause of all of our problems.
All teams have to do is start throwing deep, early and often, and next thing you know we are in a hole that Tanne has to get us out of by passing every play, and that exposes our OL.

there is NO WAY philbin fires Sherman. That is his mentor.

Ireland draftees Lamar Miller. D Thomas, R. Tannehill, J Martin, M Pouncey, M Egnew, and John Jerry are all dissapointing this year.

Mark In Toronto,
Jordan was not drafted to replace Wake. Wake is an LDE, Jordan is an RDE. Jordan has only been projected as an RDE in a 4-3, or an OLB in a 3-4 (for which is is better suited) due to his weakness in defending the run. And Wake has a few years left in the tank. He does not have alot of miles on him as he played little, if at all, when he fist came here.
Regardless, he should be starting and playing more than 20 snaps a game. That's on the coaching staff.

I agree F4L...what a dichotomy we have for ourselves! We are damned if we do and damned if we don't. The 2 moves that must be made at seasons end are OC and DC. The other thing that bothers me a lot is that this team has no fire. Other teams charge out onto the field ready for battle....we just saunter out. We have taken on the personality of the coaches. We are vanilla. I really wish some of our team leaders would have more fire....like Ray Lewis used too.

The first change to come...imo...should be Tanne....if he continues to turn over the ball...

The change that has the least amount of moving pieces...but could have the biggest effect on the team will be the QB....and while many may not like Moore (i don't like thathe is happy tom be a back-up)....

Moore may be able to step inif Tanne continues to struggle....

and lets see what happens if the ball gets out of the QBs hands quicker...it may make Sherman look smarter...

Can the "U" ever get thru a half-decade with NCAA sactions....


You said it Bill we need more fire and more urgency.

Marino was our fire on offense just the way he looked every sunday.

Now who is that firey person? The veterans need to step up the emotion factor.

Kris, from last blog,

Kris, of course I watch the games. But I check the stats every week to see how he is faring v the rest of the league. I mean, I watch other teams play but I check stats to make sure I'm being impartial and not letting my heart think too much. I mean, it is important to have a big picture frame of mind here regarding this kid. Is he top ten in the league .. of course no. But he is better than he was last year, I think his career path is following that of most QBs. i mean what 2nd year QB is actually leading his team to victories. Andrew Luck you say? Hmm, fair but Andrew Luck has way more supporting cast than Miami does. Indy was 1-15 or whatever two years ago - they are great because of Luck ... ok. I say he has the 4th best rush attack in the NFl. he has a defense that gave him 4 turnovers against Denver and overall the team is 2nd in the league in turnover ratio. yes some of that a good portion is Luck staying clean, but the defense is also giving him a lot more posessions than ours. Luck has fewer passing yards despite more attempts and an awesome rush attack.
We don't have any of that.
RG3 is not doing as much as Tannehill, neither is Wilson. They are basically being caretakers for their repsective teams.
i don't know what you expect the kid to do. He is performing as any up and coming young QB is supposed to perform.
What do you want the guy to be? Brees, Brady, manning? Well how fukking retarded is that, i ask?

And furthermore, if you say Tannehill is garbage then how do you rank the half of the QBs in the league that have been less productive and won fewer games than Tannehill? And you can't say defense or the running game won any of those earlier games either.

Surely not half the league is utter garbage?

This is exactly where any reasonable fan expected him to be development wise.

Kris way too early to give up on Tannehill. I will defer to Marino, Sapp, Boomer, Dilfer, Young, Shula....the list goes on and on. Our 3-3 record is not on Tannehill. The line, by all experts opinions, is horrible. When Tannehill has time he gets the job done well. Wallace has been a 54% WR his entire career. This is not on Tannehill. Again as usual the Dolphins never game plan to a players strength. We always try to make the player fit the system instead of making the system fit the player. This is the difference from winning organizations and the Dolphins. When we were winning we went out and got players that fit our system. That was what Shula was great at. Then the game changed and Shula changed the system and went out and got players that fit the new system. This is why the Pats are so good for decade. They get players that fit their system.

Sorry, when I typed RG3 above, I meant Kaep.

Kris way too early to give up on Tannehill. I will defer to Marino, Sapp, Boomer, Dilfer, Young, Shula....the list goes on and on that have stated Tannehill is the real deal.

This is not a Tannehill issue. Its an offensive line issue. It's an issue of the GM doing a poor job of securing enough capable O linemen to give the QB a chance to compete. 26 sacks in 6 games is ridiculous. That amounts to almost 70 sacks in one year plus knockdowns, hurries etc. Can't win like that.

The WC offense is based on exploiting weaknesses. This being a passing league requires outstanding play from WR's, and that is not happening consistently. Run the ball and find the mis matches. A RB needs to find his rhythm and by constantly switching Miller and Thomas gets us nowhere. Take the number of carries and average and Miller can easily be compared to Bush if he carries 20 plus times a game, so enough of "when we had Bush". Having a running game takes the pressure off the O line, evident from the first three quarters. Establish the running game early and stick with until we find a solution to the O line problems. Not giving up on the season but that is the only way to avoid results like the last couple of games.

Kris, you also say turnovers are a problem. Fumbles? Your boy Russel Wilson has more fumbles lost in Seattle becasue they have a banged up o line with about 40 fewer attempts.

And INTS, your boy Flacco has more as well as a number of others.

he has developed as well as can be expected. If they don't have more wins, it's because the team won't run and can't pass block and has a defense that is simply ordinary and doesn't excel in any particular department.

Now, if Tannehill is still middle of the pack next year then we have a problem. As of now, we do not. The Dolphins as a team are just not good enough. It is a problem a lot more encompassing and problematic than who is under centree.

And you think Moore is a solution to turnovers. You do realize that he averages more than a turnover a game in his career and never played in front of a line this bad. heck, nobody has played behind a line this bad.

The defence is the least of our problems. It may look worse than it is because of all Tanny''s 3 n outs and turnovers. That puts tremendous added pressure on any D.

Posted by: Steve | October 22, 2013 at 01:37 PM

Steve, my problem with the defense is that they're good enough to force 3rd and longs, but to terrible to stop teams from converting them.

We have a bad O Line. On top of that the CBA prohibits much padded practices that are necessary to fine tune the running game. On top of that half of the blocks that were used in the old days for running plays have been outlawed. The NFL DOES NOT want teams running the ball and being physical. They want Madden football.

My problem with Tannehill is that he seems to be a jeckyll and hyde. At times he looks like he's progressing, then at times he looks like he's regressing. His consistency is far from where it needs to be.

Sam I Am, isn't that part of being a 2nd year Qb in the nfl?

So now we want Matt Moore to replace Tanny if he continues to turn the ball over?

LMFAO! That's pretty fkkin funny!

Replace a fumble prone QB w/a guy who was even more fumble prone than the guy he's replacing?

How quickly we forget Matt Moore fumbles when he's looked at or breathed on, let alone crunched in the pocket like Tanny has been.

The ignorance of this fan base is astonishing.

I know at times Sherman has suspect play calling, but there's still serious personnel deficiencies in our passing game. The running game is still inconsistent at best.

So, even if we had the best OC in the NFL today, there would still be problems due to the personnel we have to work with.

Tannehill has been very consistent. When he has time in the pocket he is good. When he is getting sacked, knocked to the ground and juggled like a bowling pin he is bad. Now Marino was great....we can all agree on that....he would look like Tannehill does behind this line!

The NFL today is a CRAP league. There are about 5 Horrible teams maybe 5 above average teams and the rest are mired in mediocrity. It's HORRIBLE football. And it will continue to get worse. Free Agency guarantees mediocrity rules. But the greedy owners, players and agents could not care less about GOOD football going down the toilet as long as they are all making millions. We the fans are the FOOLS that go along with their facade.


Wow you're off today. 2 of the 3 losses we have so far go directly to coaching...namely OC!! Haven't you watched the games? Any decent OC would have worked the clock...run when he should have....passed when he should have?

Mark at 2:20 spot on! See my 2:26.

Matt Moore the solution to the turnovers?


Mark, right on. Shouldn't Ireland have known this and pursued the best possible oline talent over the offseason?

He should have left nothing to chance, grabbed Albert and kept Martin at RT. You have the give a 2nd yr qb the best protection possible.

We don't have Albert because Ireland was over-infactuated with Dion Jordan burning one of the 2nd rd picks on him. Right now Jordan's a part time player and the oline situation is horrible.

In the Ravnes game The Dolphins’ pass protection went from problematic to apocalyptic. Four of the Ravens’ six sacks came in the fourth, including an Elvis Dumervil sack on the final drive that ultimately pushed Sturgis’ field goal attempt from 52 yards to 57. This was after we had given up the lead late in the 4th. A sure W became a L due to Sherman and Coyle. Same outcome against Bills

Ryan Tannehill = Mr Turnover

Mark in Toronto

Wilson (and Kap and Luck) are incredible and they have the intangible feel for the game that Tanny doesn't have. Wilson is electric by the way watch the Hawks sometime, he is Montana+Staubach rolled into 1 PS with a very mediocore WR core.

TH has not shown he has a feel these other guys have demonstrated. Not sure you can teach it. If TH becomes Flacco#2 or Cutler or Schaub, that may be enough long term if you have a great D. He won't get there with Sherman, IMO. You lose to the Ravens after you get sacked on a pass play that takes you out of FG range, then lose to Buffalo on the exact same play call (this time with the lead), then tell the fans 'we made the right call'.

PS should've got Mckinney right after the Raven game not after the bye WTF

Tannehill=no time to make decisions and throw the ball....get a clue please. As I stated earlier I will ALAWAYS defer to the opinions of the experts instaed of some anonymous blogger that is most likely a Jets fan. The experts concur that Tannehill is the real deal!


Wow you're off today. 2 of the 3 losses we have so far go directly to coaching...namely OC!! Haven't you watched the games? Any decent OC would have worked the clock...run when he should have....passed when he should have?

Posted by: Bill Arnsparger | October 22, 2013 at 02:30 PM

Like I said, Sherman does get some blame. Still, not having the best personnel to work with, it handicaps his playbook. You've gotta have the personnel to execute any call in your playbook.

Defenses will catch on very quickly when they realize there are certain plays you can or can not call because you have personnel issues. Sherman's sort of in a catch 22 as far as what his personnel can and cannot execute consistently.

Remember the 3rd and inches play? Sweep would have work had not the personnel we had missed the block that allowed the penetration. There was also no guarantee a qb sneak would have picked up the 1st down with the inconsistency of our oline blocking.

Our personnel can also make good play calling look bad with it's poor execution. Damn if you do, damn if you don't.

why beat up on Sherman so much. he finally called the end around with Wallace after faking it for first 5 games and got 10 yds. Awesome play calling, leave him b

SeaFinFan, I watch Wilson play plenty. he is a game manager right now. he is not asked to do much but when he is, he does very well - no doubt.

His pass attempts and yardage near the bottom of the NFL supports this and is irrefutable.

Now it is also irrefutable that he leads the NFl in fumbles lost. look it up.


That goes back to what I said earlier about this coaching staff being stubborn. They are going to force there failed schemes down our throat whether we like it or not. Sherman has been a failure and fired every place he has been and still wont change. The shame is that Philbin may be the guy but his loyalty to OC and DC will get him fired too. Good thing is that Ireland will be gone too.

Mark...good points...I will address them when i get back...

for all that is holy....we are attempting to hae a debate....you are more than welcome to join in....but please do so as an adult...and not an child....

then lets discuss...

Now Marino was great....we can all agree on that....he would look like Tannehill does behind this line!
Posted by: Bill Arnsparger | October 22, 2013 at 02:27 PM
1-10 in rd. p/o's, great? uhuh. noway homer.but at least marino got u to the post season. tfumble, ain't.

Should've got Mckinnie 12 years ago from our own backyard. This is utter desperation.


See that's what Im saying all the time about making the system fit the players you have. The Seahags know the strengths of Wilson and that what they scheme for. For almost 20 yrs we are bad and the direct reas on is because we do not get players to fit our system.We continuously get players that don't fit our system tehn let them go and they suddenly blossom after they leave us? NOOOO the team they go to has the system that fits them. Until we get this we are doomed.

Russell Wilson has the advantage of having one helluva RB to hand the ball off too, and a good OL to boot.
Too much has been piled on Tanne so far in his career. Rather than him being a game manager, it's put on him to win the games, as evidenced by the number of pass vs. running plays that have been called.
It's not a formula for success, it's a formula for setting your young QB back for years, or ruining his career. I know this coaching staff was bone headed last year when they rushed him back from the knee injury he suffered in the Jets game.

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