Currently it looks like Lamar Miller will get the majority of the carries for the 2013 Miami Dolphins. The second year running back will have competition though, especially if his pass blocking does not greatly improve from his rookie season.
Miller saw very limited action in his first NFL season. Part of that was due to nagging injury issues, but part of that was also his underwhelming pass blocking skills and struggles to pick up blitzers. Reggie Bush was the main RB and Daniel Thomas was the no.2 more often than not, but Bush is gone and I felt like Thomas’ pass blocking regressed a tad which puts him on-par with Miller’s level of blocking. This season Thomas has several RBs to compete with for the no.2 spot and he will need to take his game to the next level to get 2013 carries.
The team let Bush walk because their plan was to feature Miller, but the former University of Miami star acknowledges that his pass blocking has to improve to be able to take the ball and run with the no.1 RB opportunity (pun somewhat intended). Miller has said that his top priority this offseason was to improve his blocking, and soon enough we will see if that work pays dividends.
If Miller falters in this area we are sure to see a heavy dose of Mike Gillislee. The University of Florida rookie is likely already the best RB on the team as far as pass blocking which should A) make him a great candidate to get third down snaps and B) make him a great candidate to step in right away if head coach Joe Philbin and offensive Mike Sherman feel that Miller is putting the franchise (aka Ryan Tannehill) in harm’s way with poor blitz pick-up and pass blocking.
The backfield is young and inexperienced but has potential to be explosive. The man ball carrier will be the guy who can get the job done on run plays AND as a pass protector who can be trusted to recognize and pick-up blitzes.
I believe Miller when he says he will be better at blocking, but this roster will insist on it so I sure hope he does improve this aspect of his game. The team likely has 200+ carries for Miller, but he will have to prove he is going to be well-rounded.