Going into his second year, 22-year-old Lamar Miller will get his opportunity to shine, as the Miami Dolphins announced that he will be their feature back.
During the preseason, Miller outplayed his fellow teammate Daniel Thomas for the chance to replace former Fins running back in Reggie Bush. Miller ran for more yards (72 to 52), more touchdowns (1-0) and had better yards-per-carry (4.2 to 2.7) than Thomas.
Although Miller’s 2012 campaign wasn’t exactly a season to remember, many expect the former Miami Hurricane to make a name for himself in 2013. In his rookie year, Miller posted less-than-stellar numbers, as he only carried the ball 51 times for 250 yards with one rushing touchdown. With Bush and Thomas getting most of the carries, Miller still found ways to make an impact that showcased his skills that very few have in this league.
Against the Buffalo Bills last year, Miller proved why he is an exciting player, as he possesses electrifying speed and ankle-breaking moves that leaves opposing defenders motionless. Miller ended up with 73 rushing yards on 10 carries with an average of 7.3 yards per carry, as the Dolphins went on to win 24-10.
Another thing that makes Miller even more dangerous is the fact that he is not a one-dimensional player, but his receiver-like abilities gives him more arsenal than the average back. While no defender wants to chase down Miller in the open field, people underestimate his skills as short yardage or goal line back.
In 2012, the Fins were ranked 17th in rushing, as they averaged 112.6 yards per game with Bush and Thomas splitting the carries. With Miller assuming the feature back role, offensive coordinate Mike Sherman still plans on using both backs quite a bit this season.
“I think because they are so different they offer … a different dynamic when in the game,” Sherman. “I think there will be a challenge defensively to be able to put both running backs on the field separately.”
In the offseason, one area that Miller improved that impressed the coaching staff was his blocking skills, as it was a glaring weakness to his game during his rookie year.
Although the Dolphins were unable to retain their top receiver in Brandon Marshall, they aggressively pursued speedster Mike Wallace, who will more than likely stretch opposing defenses on the outside, as it will give more space for Miller and Thomas to operate.
While the Dolphins are very young offensively with a second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill at the helm, alongside two receivers just entering their fifth year in the league, they have the potential to improve dramatically in 2013.
Not every team has a possible home-run hitter like Miller on their team, and the Dolphins are hoping that the home town player will capitalize on his chance to shine.
In 2013, Miller will play a key role in terms of how far the Dolphins can progress and how dangerous of a team the Fins can be in the long run.
I expect Miller to have a breakout year, and be an impact player for the Dolphins. Not everyone gets the opportunity to shine bright under the bright lights of the NFL, and it will up to Miller whether he captures the moment or let the hurricane wash his chance away.