Jeff Ireland might have been the busiest general manager in the entire NFL this year. He signed big name free agents, made noticeable moves in the draft and even broke out the checkbook to keep some of his own players on the team. But of all the moves he had a hand in, allowing Reggie Bush to leave the Miami Dolphins for a four-year deal with the Detroit Lions might have been his biggest non-move.
You see, despite the running back’s clear preference to stay in Miami and take a “hometown discount,” Ireland and head coach Joe Philbin made it clear that they were ready to move on from Bush despite not having someone that, statistically speaking, could replace him on the field.
And so the Dolphins decided to go with a combination of Daniel Thomas, who boasts an anemic career 3.8 yard-per-carry, and the largely unproven Lamar Miller.
Miller, who played in a very limited role this past season, showed flashes of potential. Although he ran 51 times for 250 yards, in games that he had nine or more carries he averaged a phenomenal 6.4 yards per carry. He has acceleration to hit holes which allows him to get into open space early, where he uses his speed and elusiveness to turn short runs into big plays.
Although the Dolphins named Miller their starting running back for Week 1, the team continues to express that the two backs will split the carries. One can only assume that it’s because Miller, who is known for being a bit flighty, is a liability in pass protection.
Center Mike Pouncey believes that Miller can gain 1,300 yards this season. If the backs are splitting carries and Thomas is getting the bulk of the goal line touches, that prediction will be hard-pressed to reach four digits.