The Miami Dolphins have a lot of things on their checklist that they need to fix. After relieving Mike Sherman and Jeff Ireland from their duties last week, the Dolphins are on the search for a new offensive coordinator and GM. All over talk radio and the web, the brunt of the blame for the Dolphins’ disappointing season has been attributed from the top of the organization to the coaching staff, all the way down to the quarterback.
One asset that has gone unnoticed by critics? The Dolphins’ lack of a rushing attack.
Yes, critics have pointed to the lack of improvement on offense during Sherman’s two years as offensive coordinator. The Dolphins ranked 27th in 2012 in points per game, before finishing 2013 26th in the same category. The critics have also pointed to quarterback Ryan Tannehill‘s regression in the final two games of the season which saw him throw for just one touchdown and three interceptions, all while failing to exceed a 45.6 quarterback rating and 50 percent completion rate in either game.
But Miami’s rushing attack — which ranked 29th in carries, 26th in yards and 27th in touchdowns — was a significant reason why the Dolphins not only struggled on offense in the last two games, but why the offense struggled as a whole throughout the season.
There were four different occasions during the 2013 season where the Dolphins gained 22 yards or less on the ground, including the season single-game low two yards that the rushing attack ran for when the Dolphins fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 10.
Behind the rushing tandem of Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, Miami’s rushing attack took a step backward after allowing Reggie Bush to walk as a free agent in the 2013 offseason. Miller averaged just 44.3 rushing yards per game, while Thomas averaged just 27.1 yards per game.
Whatever the case may be, whether it’s due to the runners themselves, or the lack of stability along the offensive line throughout the season, the absence of a consistent rushing attack contributed to the Dolphins’ offensive woes during the 2013 season. In order for Miami to take that next step in becoming a playoff contender, they will have to rectify their issues when it pertains to the running game.