Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
The Miami Dolphins running game is amongst the best in the NFL and the primary reason why is the offensive line and of course, Lamar Miller. Miller is currently tied for second for the most runs of 20+ yards with four. Ahead of him is DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys with 5. In addition, the Dolphins are fifth in the NFL with 569 yards and are also fifth with 5.0 yards per carry. Bill Lazor likes what he sees so far but still wants to see improvement.
“I think we are on track. I think we are about where we would hope it would be, which is still improving. But I believe our players know better now than maybe in the first couple of games of the preseason of exactly what it is going to look like, how it is going to go, what people are going to try to do to stop it. So I think we are gaining confidence and we are just gaining working knowledge of what we are doing. I think our backs are being decisive. It’s coming. I guess we will have a little bit more time to evaluate during this bye week the first four games. It will be a little bit clearer, but I think we hoped it would be gaining momentum, and it is.”
“There were some areas that the coaches who were here in the past felt like Lamar needed to improve in the offseason and he’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do, probably all those opportunities haven’t shown up yet, but, as they do, I think we’re very confident that he’s still an improving player and he’s very willing to do what we ask him to do. So I have great hope for him.”
One player who wasn’t even in the Dolphins’ plans this season until Knowshon Moreno got injured is Daniel Thomas and he is making the most of his second chance with the team.
“I’m happy with the production he’s had. I can think of at least one explosive run and obviously he had an explosive pass called back. He had another explosive pass that was a big third down conversion. Daniel has done a great job kind of picking up where he left off. I don’t know if he was in exactly the same shape, but I thought he picked it up pretty fast when he got back and we’re happy to have him back for sure.”
Joe Philbin echoed the sentiments of Lazor and said he’s been impressed by the way that Thomas has come back while not missing much of a beat.
“I liked what he did. There were a couple of plays on the film where he kind of had both a little bit of patience where he didn’t rush it and then you saw some acceleration through the hole at the same time once he did make a decision. I thought he made a good contribution. I thought he ran a really nice route. I believe that was a third down play. It was well done. I thought he contributed nicely.”
With Moreno coming back in week 6, it will only help this running game. It’s odd to say but perhaps this team can begin to use a three-headed monster approach to the run game with Miller, Moreno and Thomas. If all three can continue to be successful, not many teams will be able to stop the Dolphins on the ground.