Depth and versatility are words that may be used to describe the 2012 Miami Dolphins backfield. You read that correctly. The potential is certainly there.
Ricky Williams had several monster years for Miami, Ronnie Brown too, but in the past we have seen the Dolphins look to guys like J.J. Johnson, Travis Minor, Patrick Cobbs, and Lex Hilliard to produce, and provide depth. Not much success there.
2012 has promise for Running Backs Coach Jeff Nixon‘s group. Obvious place to start is (one of) Kim Kardasian‘s ex. Coming into 2011 Reggie Bush had 1 more 100+ rushing yards game than you or I had. That number is now up to 6. The middle, and finish to Bush’s 2011 campaign surely gives reason for optimism going forward. In their new west-coast offense Reggie’s ability to beat a linebacker or defensive-back, plus ability for yards after the catch are ideal skills for a slot receiver. Reggie carried the load in 2011, and this offense looks set up for Bush to eclipse 1,000+ total yards
As long as Charles Clay maintains his health in 2012, he is sure to be a legitimate contributor. The 23 year old is similar to Bush in that he can do damage out of the backfield as a receiver against LB’s or DB’s. Clay is a guy that will have specific pass plays called for him, and should also provide a valid check-down option for whoever will be a QB
Surely more will be expected from Daniel Thomas in is second season. At 6’1″ 230 pounds the plan was to have Thomas provide the thunder to Bush’s lightning, but injuries plagued his rookie campaign (just 581 yards with 0 Touchdown’s) Considering Miami traded up to draft Thomas in the 2nd Round last year, we can expect him to be given an opportunity to prove (when healthy) he is a legitimate contributor
The opposite of trading up to draft Thomas is having Lamar Miller still available at pick #97 . Ironically that pick became Miami’s as part of the trade that landed Reggie Bush in Miami. Miller stays in-State having played his college ball at the University Of Miami. This young man can fly, and has juking ability to make you miss out of the backfield, or returning kicks. Surely pass protection is an area that requires improvement, but that is true of most rookie RB’s. The zone-blocking we will see from Miami will suit Miller just fine. In formations where Reggie Bush lines up as the slot receiver a guy with Miller’s skill-set could be in on several snaps.
The guy with his hand up in the corner saying “Don’t forget about me” is Steve Slaton. No offense to him at all, he is a depth guy, but surely there are guys ahead of him on the depth chart here. Slaton had a fantastic rookie season in 2008, but in the 3 years since he literally does not have half as many Yards or TD’s combined as he did in ’08