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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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Maybe in 9-10 years they'll get Jake Long back too!

Mark in Toronto (are you a Rush fan?) Wilson is way more than a game manager - he (and Kap and Luck) make plays when what is called gets blown apart. TH hasn't demonstrated he can look to his second and third option, much less improvise - forgot about the stats and go by what you see on the field..

Philbin is as doomed as Sparano was when the GM Ireland cant supply ANY talent. How happy is Sean Smith and Vontae Davis to be off this team?

So, you yearn for adult conversation?

When you claim a fumble prone QB is the solution to solve our turnover issues can you understand how utterly stupid that sounds?

Why does that deserve an adult like response? It's moronic. You sound like the same trolls that post Tannehenne or Hennehill.

Before requesting adult discussion, try posting something mind provoking. Not child like troll nonsense.

The debates will rage on about play calls, talent, coaching etc.

I have seen enough out of Tannehill to say he should and will be it for the near future. Even though I believe firmly in grabbing guys and taking chances on FA QBs like Case Keenum in Houston who not only owns most of the big college records of all time but has an it factor. I think if given some opportunity will show well. Moral of story...let's not just sit on Devlin as a career back-up.

But I digress. Tannehill seems to have the arm strength and overall athletic ability to pilot the ship. The challenge will be building the wall in front of him to give him the proper time to lazer focus or even go through some reads.

60 Million dollar man and Tannheill should be doing 30 go paterns a day AFTER practice until that timing is tight. Tannehill has had open receivers and missed them (Hartline last game)...gotta have em.

The running game was better with Bush...period. I thought he was a bad one to let go of...yes he wanted his salary to stay at 5Mil or close but he WANTED TO PLAY HERE. He was a much more dangerous option in the receiving game.

The Wheeler / Ellerbe moves are a wash. I'm hoping woth more time those two will get better. I actually was surprised they move Burnett as he seemed fast and to be coming on.

Maybe McKinnie loves his homecoming and fires up the line some?? If anything maybe it will spark some better line play if even a little.

Nerver nervous Sturgis needs to get back into the groove. Come on OFF, get him a creme puff 48 yarder!

The team appears to be adrift but luckily they won some out of the gate. They have to upset a team or two here in the next couple games or the playoffs will be out of grasp even if things click late.

Good luck and GO PHINS!


Russel Wilson is a top playmaker. He can really extend the plays and wear a defence down. He doesnt even need an OL. The guy refuses to lose.

Mark in Toronto (are you a Rush fan?) Wilson is way more than a game manager - he (and Kap and Luck) make plays when what is called gets blown apart. TH hasn't demonstrated he can look to his second and third option, much less improvise - forgot about the stats and go by what you see on the field..

Posted by: SeaFinFan | October 22, 2013 at 02:54 PM

2nd or 3rd reads? LOL On his back? The kid barely has 3 sec to throw on over 75% of his attempts!

Thank god the kid can read a Defense and can identify the guy he wants to throw to presnap. He barely has enough time to let the play develop to locate his #1 option. By the time his 2nd read comes about he's either sacked or trying to escape.

2nd & 3rd read? LMAO!


To the clown who obsesses about Dashi. Idiot, while you come in here and Insanely rant about the same thing over and over. Which is never the right thing to complain about. WHAT DID DASHI SAY ON HIS 1 POST ON GAMEDAY WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING "NO TURNOVERS".

With that said this game was lost by 2 people at 2 different but important parts of the game. Tannehill in the First and Clabo in the 4th. Tannehill dug the hole and Clabo put the Nail in the Coffin.

Tannehill made up for the first qtr with a pretty good game the rest of the way. Clabo ran out of gas in the 4th. He got bad real quick the last 3 drives the fins had.

It wasn't on the Play call. It wasn't on the O-line. But It also falls a little on the Defense. Agreed, Coyle isn't that good. At least not as good as our previous DC. While we have had over a decade of incompetence from our previous OC. We have had some of the Best DCs in the league over that same amount of time. J.Bates, M.Nolan, N.Saban. All top notch Defensive minds. Coyle lacks that "It".

Also, to Mr. Tubby Tubby (Major Payne Voice). Deferring on Kickoff's is the right play every time. USE COMMON SENSE. When you defer you set yourself up for the 2nd half. Your defense should be able to stop the other teams first drive more than 95% of the time. Look at the Stats, I bet even the Best offenses (Peyton, Breed, Brady, Rodgers) don't score on the first drive more than 50% of the time. And by deferring if you are down going into the half you get the ball back to try and catch up. And if you are up you get the ball back to try and extend the lead. Common Sense. Don't talk situational football when you don't know Situational Football. It shows your true knowledge of what you know.

And if anyone was offended by my last post. I apologize. I was to general. I didn't mean everyone here. Just a select few who know who they are who only come on here and complain with Zero insight whatsoever on how to resolve the problem, just complain. YOU KNOW THE ONE TWINK WHO KEPT SAYING GILLISLEE IS BETTER THAN E.LACY. THE OTHER BLOWHARD WHO SAID WE SHOULD'VE DRAFTED M.INGRAM. AND THE CLOWN WHO THINKS HENNE IS GOD. Other wise known as the 3-Headed Troll Monster of Dolphins in Depth. And let me not forget their Overlord Mr. Tubby Tubby.

Anyone that compares Wilson to Tannehill is an idiot. Wilson has a plow horse at RB that can take over a game. He has a solid O Line and the best Defense in the NFL. What does Tannehill have? A bunch of bumps and bruises from a horrible O Line. RB's that can't break tackles and a Defense that is guaranteed to fall apart at the worst possible time.

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.

Bill Arnsparger | October 22, 2013 at 01:57 PM

I also have a problem with not just the OC but DC and feel they both have to go! I can't ever recall (and I'm a lifer going on 35 Yrs. now) a more athletically talented group Defensively than the one Coyle has at his disposal. I remember in 81 when (your name sake) Arnsparger switched to the then very radical 3/4 scheme to fit his Killer Bees D, he didn't invent it but it fit his players.

With Duhe the rover lining up at all 4 LB spots. The Blackwoods for all intents were both playing F.S. with NO Strong dividing the field in a Cover-2 giving deep double over the CB's (McNeal and Gerald Small) maybe Glenn played some S.S. allowed to freelance more in the middle of the field but at the snap they were both a good 15 Yds. off the line. In those days the T.E.'s weren't so athletic but when we saw one (Winslow Sr.) our SOLB Larry Gordon could run with him (and usually when Glenn crept into the seam)

My point is from 71 till 73 then from 76 to 83 the Dolphins played in both the 3/4 and 4/3 with a multitude of Coverage schemes (man,cover-2,zone and some innovated along the way) under a DC that knew how to manipulate a scheme to suit his talent. The best at it today is Belichik (even with the spy gate) they're NEVER physically the most imposing and in alot of cases retreads fill his D roster (with one of note at our expense) but he fits them into a scheme which may shift 3 times in the same Yr.

I've had it with former Assistants getting out Coached which to me is a BIG PART of the problem here! I've historically blasted Shula the G.M. plenty but he knew how to MORPH SCHEME to fit his pieces and when collaborating with Arnsparger they took a makeshift team in 82 to the dance (to this day only team without a TRULY identified starter at QB to go and not without a bunch trying it with 2 QB's either) It boggles my mind as BAD as the OL can be just how much I see the talent being wasted especially on the Defensive side of the ball with little to NO INNOVATION on O!

I know this can't happen overnight but to see the team go backwards on defense means more then 'the little things' need changing.

First. you get Jordan into the games in a position to use his remarkable physical talents. You can do this by going back to the 3/4. The starting ends would be Odrick and Starks with Soliai as the nose tackle. Positions they've all played at one time or another. Next you make Jordan a stand up line backer on the right side and do the same for Wake on the other. Again not unusual positioning as they've both played both up and down. And you can put them on the same side with Jordan's responsibility to check the TE, disrupting the timing of QB/TE. Something we haven't done this season and TE's continue to hurt us. (Can't wait until this weekend, will have eyes closed whenever Brady looks at Gronkowski) Jordan can still slow down the TE and then give a delayed rush to the QB. Or do what he was brilliant at Oregon in dropping back into coverage. Move Misi inside with Ellerbe (Misi would do just fine inside) and allow Ellerbe to do one of his best qualities of blitzing the QB. I can't see any opponent game planning against all the possibilities this might possess. As for Wheeler, you can plug him into any of the 4 LB positions as needs arise. Vernon at 6'2" and 268 pds. and Shelby at 6'2" and 280 could be backups for the two starting DEs and one of them could be brought in on passing downs with Starks or Odrick moving into the nose.

This would put much less pressure on our DBs and allow them, with more pressure on the QBs, the opportunities of a take away. Just what Philbin keeps talking about. Granted it's not all that simple but other then Misi all the players have played all the positions that this change would call for.


Actually Arnsparger did make the 3/4 popular but it was in the early 70's. We were short on DL and he converted LB Bob Matheson into the 4th Linebacker/DE. He drove Namath crazy along with the rest of the league. No one was using it then. That was a staple of the No Name Defense.

Dashi | October 22, 2013 at 03:16 PM

Unless you see something on film you believe you can exploit quickly before the opposition can regroup jumping out to a quick (cheap) 7 point lead then deferring is always the best strategy even if the best QB's (you mentioned) are on your team. You've had a chance at the half to regroup and prepare your opening 2nd half drive to counter what you've seen on D from your opponent. I'm not sure if the stat is kept but I'd bet the top half of the teams in the League have a very high scoring success rate coming out of the half?

For my two cents I like Philbin. That's not to say I agree with everything he has done. However you have to give a guy more than 1 1/2 years before you decide to pull the plug. We have 10 games left 7 of the 10 are against teams that we should be competitive with and win. Let's see how he does. he needs to win 6 out of 10. That would put us at 9-7 and be an improvement. If they go 8-8 or less I think we will have a new GM at least.

Much ado about nothing. What does it matter who starts in this Dolphin lineup? Mondo why not ask why the terrible play calling, ask why has Clabo lasted this long, ask why are the Dolphins not mentally or physically tough like the rest of the NFL? Ask why the Dolphin talent pool is dry? There are tons of question to ask and non are softballs. Mondo if you want to see a very talented team watch the Seahawks, Pete Carroll has talent on loan from God. Seahawks are the team to beat in the SB. and for the foreseeable future. And one more non softball question. Why hasnt Tannehill improved over last yr. Hes still making the same dumb mistakes, fumbles, ints. and he loves to hold the ball.


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