In his first game of the 2013 NFL season, Miami Dolphins second-year running back Lamar Miller was wildly unproductive. He notched a solid 10 carries in the game, but managed a nearly unfathomable three yards with those carries. On 11 overall touches in the game, he managed only 10 total yards.
Obviously after starting the season with the game like that, there was nothing for him to do but get better. Over the Dolphins next three games he looked quite promising, though. In those three games combined, he accrued 33 carries that went for a total of 193 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. That’s a solid 5.8 yards per carry average in case you haven’t already done the math.
In week five, however, the Dolphins were up against a stingy Baltimore Ravens defense that stifled Miller’s production. Miller got just seven carries for the game that went for just 15 yards. Despite that, Miller still is averaging 4.2 yards per carry this season. However, he’s still splitting carries with Daniel Thomas and not exactly being featured in the Dolphins offense.
Personally, I think the Dolphins are making a mistake and underutilizing Miller in their offense. I understand that it’s frustrating when he only has 15 yards on seven carries, but that’s part of the deal with Miller. He’s a back of the same mold of the Jamaal Charles’ of the world, meaning that a lot of his value is derived from his ability to make big plays. Miller has track star speed and is near impossible to catch in the open field; the Dolphins just have to wait for him to break a play open.
In weeks 2-4 when Miller had success, Miami was being patient with Miller, feeding him the rock. That resulted in some big runs which made him an asset. However, if they continue to rely on Ryan Tannehill in a pass-heavy offense or giving Miller’s carries to an ineffective Thomas, the success that they’ve found early this season will be short-lived. Miller is the answer to the Dolphins’ running game, if he could ever consistently get a shot to make things happen.