Miami Dolphins: A Look at the Team's Running Back Situation

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IJuly 27, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 12: Running back Reggie Bush #22 of the Miami Dolphins runs against the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium on September 12, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins have a three-way quarterback controversy, a somewhat weak receiving corps and a new offensive coordinator. But a look into the backfield should give fans some hope for the offense, because Miami has a talented group of backs.

Running back is unquestionably the offense's, and possibly the entire team's, strongest position by talent and depth. 

Veteran Reggie Bush will look to build on last season in which Bush gained roughly twice as many yards on the ground as he had in any previous season. Last year, which was his first year with Miami, Bush gained 1,086 yards on 216 carries for an impressive 5.0 yards-per-carry average. He also caught 43 passes for 296 yards. 

At 27, Bush is in the prime of his career and should continue to be very productive. In New Orleans, he was treated almost more like a wide receiver than a running back, but Miami allowed him to run between the tackles, and he proved that he was truly a complete back. 

Behind Bush, Miami has two extremely talented youngsters in Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller.

Thomas, Miami's second-round pick in 2011, had an interesting rookie year. At 6'1", 233 lbs, he is a workhorse-type back that can pound the ball up the middle and wear down a defensive line.

In Week 2, he gained 107 yards on 18 carries. In Week 3, he gained 95 yards on 23 carries. After this promising start, however, Thomas injured his hamstring and missed the next few games. When he came back, he didn't gain more than 73 yards in a game for the rest of the season.

Thomas also went without a touchdown during the entire season. He showed some promise, but the injury really derailed his rookie season. He will be a phenomenal complement to Bush if he can get back to his pre-injury form. 

Lastly, we have perhaps the most intriguing player on Miami's entire offense: Lamar Miller. Taken in the fourth round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Miami, Miller has been lauded for his explosiveness and big-play potential.  

As a redshirt freshman in 2010, Miller rushed 108 times for 646 yards and an outstanding 6.0 yards-per-carry average. In 2011, he gained 1,272 yards on 227 carries for a YPC of 5.6.

But Miller injured his shoulder early in the season and continued playing hurt for the entire year, which scared some NFL teams away. Miami actually traded up to grab him, showing that the Dolphins are serious about this kid.

Miller has the potential to come onto the field and be a game changer. Just watch the highlight video—he's extremely talented. 

All three backs bring something different to the table and will no doubt be fighting for carries throughout the entire year. The Dolphins will rely on their rushing game a lot this season, and with a talented trio in the backfield, that's not a bad thing.