The Miami Dolphins are a team that has made some noticeable improvements from their disappointing 2012 NFL season. The biggest addition they made was obviously to give second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill a big weapon in Mike Wallace.
However, it’s another second year player for the Dolphins that could turn some heads. In his rookie season last year, Lamar Miller carried the ball just 51 times, but still managed to put up 250 yards and a touchdown. Miller also caught six balls out of the backfield for 45 yards with four of those catches going for first downs.
With Reggie Bush no longer in Miami, the Dolphins have made it clear that they are going to have a competition for the starting running back job when training camp rolls around. That being said, the competition is almost inevitably going to come down to Miller and third-year back Daniel Thomas.
Last season, Thomas was second on the team in carries, touching the ball 91 times. Despite having 40 more carries last season than Miller, Thomas only accrued 75 more yards and three more touchdowns. Thomas also fumbled three times last season, two of them resulting in a change of possession, while Miller didn’t put the ball on the ground at all.
Though Thomas is still a young player that could very well take the starting job for the Dolphins, it’s hard not to imagine Miller succeeding if he were to get the majority of the carries for Miami. He averaged 1.3 yards more per carry last season than Thomas and seemed to show a ton of promise.
Another thing that cant’ be unnoticed about Miller in contrast to Thomas is Miller’s big-play ability. Miller has tremendous speed to go along with his solid size, running a 4.34-second 40-yard dash at the 2012 combine, while Thomas is more of a power back that doesn’t have the ability to breakaway at the same level that Miller does.
In actuality, the likely result will be that Miller will be on the field for the Dolphins the majority of the time with Thomas coming in on third down and short yardage situations. Even in that scenario, though, it wouldn’t be shocking if Miller had a breakout season in 2013.