Miami Dolphins Must Establish Ground Game Early vs. Dallas Cowboys
Miami’s offensive line has been the focal point for much of the offseason, but the team must shift its focus to the running back position and try to find an answer on the ground. RB Lamar Miller, who looked great this offseason, has struggled to separate himself from would-be-backups Mike Gillislee, Damien Williams, Orleans Darkwa and the oft-injured Daniel Thomas while offseason acquisition Knowshon Moreno was sidelined due to offseason knee surgery.
Miller’s statistics during the preseason leave something to be desired, as do the rest of the backs on the current roster. Miami’s backs have rushed for a combined six, yes, SIX first downs this preseason — wait, I thought Miami fired Mike Sherman?
While the offensive line has done well this preseason protecting QB Ryan Tannehill the unit has struggled to get a solid push up front, specifically the interior unit.
All Pro C Mike Pouncey is rehabbing an injured hip. While his replacement, Samson Satele, has looked okay filling in for Pouncey, he lacks the all-around ability that Pouncey brings to the table for Miami on the ground.
Next to Satele, Miami has ushered in LG Daryn Colledge, who was thought to be the starter to open the season but struggled last week, leading to the team allowing rookie G Billy Turner to see some snaps as the second-team left guard, potentially challenging Colledge for the starting left guard spot.
The team also has an unsolved mystery at right guard with second-year Dallas Thomas in a tight battle with veteran Shelley Smith. Thomas, similar to Colledge, was to be the team’s opening day right guard but due to struggles in his first two preseason games, he has been demoted to the second-team while Smith has been working with the starting unit.
Miami will receive a boost at running back this week, however, with the return of Moreno and Daniel Thomas.
Head Coach Joe Philbin has not stated how much either player will play in their first game of the preseason, but look for Thomas to see much more work than Moreno in an effort to see whether Thomas is worthy of a spot on the 53-man roster.
Miami should come out against the Dallas Cowboys Saturday night with one thing on their mind: run the football.
Dallas’ defense continues to be short on players, specifically in their front seven, which should allow Miami’s offensive line and backs to get some serious looks Saturday night.
If Miami can get the ground game going in the “dress rehearsal” game, Miami fans could be in for quite a Saturday night treat.