Reggie Bush will be hitting free agency, the Miami Dolphins beat writers are saying that the team doesn’t view Daniel Thomas as the answer at the running back position (and rightfully so), and then there’s rookie Lamar Miller. In 51 carries this past season, the high-upside rookie out of Miami averaged 4.9 yards per carry and also chipped in six passes for 45 yards. The Dolphins have their eyes set for the future with Miller, which is why he was underused in 2012.
Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland is extremely high on Miller’s prospects for the future, and here’s what he told The Palm Beach Post, “Lamar really showed some great signs of really some explosive play opportunity. He kind of shoots out of the cannon when he hits the hole. He’s got very good hands. I thought he did a very good job in his pass protection, which keeps him on the field all three downs.”
Ireland said that he believes in Jonathan Martin and Rishard Matthews as young players who can blossom, but he praised Lamar Miller the most and has extremely high hopes for Miller’s future. The Dolphins organization as a whole seems to have fallen in love with Miller, and Ireland is at the head of the belief that Miller can be a feature back in this league.
The fact that the GM chose to highlight Miller’s ability in pass protection is encouraging for both Dolphins fans and Miller, as not every rookie running back can draw praise in that category. Miller looks like a good all-around back, and he should definitely stay in on all three downs if his pass protection is indeed that good.
The Miami Herald’s beat writer Armando Salguerro wrote that the Dolphins believe Miller is a better fit for the team’s blocking scheme than Bush, and it seems more and more like the Dolphins are willing to let Reggie Bush walk in free agency. It seems like they believe in Lamar Miller enough and want to allocate the large amount of money they would have spent on Bush to a playmaker like wide receiver Greg Jennings.
Miller showed plenty of promise in limited opportunities as a rookie, but it might be too early to start acting like he is a feature back. I believe in him and see the upside, so there is definitely merit to taking this risk. He is a much better back than Daniel Thomas, but the problem is that Thomas would be the only other legitimate back on the roster if Bush goes. The Dolphins will likely sign a cheap, capable backup though, so that argument doesn’t hold much weight.
Last season, Miller was the highest rated running back per the Pro Football Focus and was indeed an above-average pass blocker in just 20 snaps during such instances.
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