On the surface the Miami Dolphins look to be a team ready to air it out.
For 2012 they will convert to a new West Coast offense under head coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. Both coaches are branches from the Mike Holmgren coaching tree, which itself is a branch off of the Bill Walsh coaching tree.
The West Coast offense is one that places more emphasis on the passing game than it does the running game.
However, the Dolphins don't yet possess the quarterback to lead their West Coast offense to the same level of success as that, over the past few years, of the Green Bay Packers.
Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard seems to be the leader in the Miami QB battle, but considering the high draft pick invested in former Texas A&M product Ryan Tannehill, even that's not guaranteed.
It also doesn't ensure the best way for the Miami Dolphins to win, not in 2012 at least.
Their most effective offense now would be a strong running game.
Last season Miami ranked 11th overall in the NFL in rushing. They averaged 124.2 yards per game as a team. Reggie Bush led the Dolphins in rushing, with 1,086 yards on 216 attempts, for an average of five yards per carry to go along with six touchdowns.
Miami's second-string running back, Daniel Thomas, was bothered at times last season with a hamstring injury; however, he still managed to rush for 581 yards on 165 attempts.
Joining the two this season is former University of Miami standout Lamar Miller. Miller rushed for 1,918 yards on 335 carries with the Hurricanes, averaging 5.7 yards per carry and scoring 15 touchdowns.
Bush, Thomas and Miller are the best weapons that the Dolphins have on offense.
This is due mainly to the lack of depth at the wide-receiver position and the lack of West Coast offense experience at tight end.
Miami will have to run the ball as much as possible in this increasingly pass-happy NFL to give the team its best chance at success.
The number of rushing attempts Miami will have (especially once Tannehill is ready to take the reins later this season) and the overall talent of Miami's backs will be why the Dolphins will likely have one of the top running games in the NFL this season.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!