The weight of the world appears to be on Lamar Miller’s shoulders.
With Reggie Bush out of the picture, Miller has been burdened with expectations of a monster breakout season, something the Miami Dolphins’ sophomore running back simply doesn’t have in him. That’s not to say he won’t have a good season in 2013, but the bar has simply been set too high.
It’s clearly been a big offseason for Miller, who seems to be at the top of every “Breakout Candidate” list around the blogosphere. He worked out with fellow Miami (Fl) alumni Frank Gore, who was massively impressed with the sophomore. Even running back guru Pete Bommarito referred to Miller as the fastest ball-carrier he’s seen, so the hype is pretty high at this point.
Despite the flood of praise for Miller, the sophomore doesn’t have it in him. With only 51 NFL carries and 250 yards to his name, the former Hurricane is still a long ways from being the type of impact runner that he’s being built up as. Especially as a player who went pro after only one year as a college starter, the physical tools that he possesses are far from fully developed.
While some may see the presence of backups Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee as a good thing, it’ll only take away from the touches that Miller has to meet these unreasonable expectations. Unless they’re used strictly as role players – Thomas in short-yardage and Gillislee in scatback situations – their presence in the offensive gameplan is only going to lower Miller’s confidence as the starter.
Training camp will give us all a clearer picture of just how prepared Miller is to take over as the Dolphins’ featured running back. With a promising offseason full of praise, the second-year speedster out of Miami looks to be headed for a big year. If you’re expecting a record-breaking season where Miller racks up astronomical numbers, though, prepare to be disappointed.
There’s no denying that Miller is a talented back capable of big things. Still, his rawness and lack of experience will keep him from being the über-productive runner the Dolphins are hoping for in 2013.