Making the Case for Lamar Miller as the Dolphins' Starting Running Back

Thomas GaliciaContributor IIJuly 3, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 09:  Lamar Miller #26 of the Miami Dolphins in action against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on December 9, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Is there really a need for me to make a case for Lamar Miller as the starting running back for the Miami Dolphins in 2013?

Not one bit. Not when head coach Joe Philbin, quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Miller's play on the field have already done just that.

But with training camp about to start in three weeks, there will be a mini-competition for the starting running back job. I say "mini-competition" because as long as Miller makes it through training camp and the preseason without getting hurt, the starting job is all but his.

Or is it?

There might be a competition, but odds are that if Miller is handling the bulk of the carries on first and second down, the job still might fall to either Daniel Thomas or Mike Gillislee in certain situations.

Is Miller likely to be Miami's red-zone running back? One would think so, but in the red zone Miami might be more inclined to use someone bigger—like Thomas or Gillislee.

As for the starting job, however, it belongs to Miller, and there's no need for me to make the case for him.

Just watch the video of Miller's 2012 highlights above. That should tell some of the story.

Tannehill gave his opinion when asked about who would be Miami's starting running back on NFL Total Access

Lamar Miller right now. He's doing a great job this offseason, really has a great handle on the offense and he's doing a great job protecting. ... They can (all) run the ball but being able to understand the pass game, understand the checkdowns and where they're protecting really makes a big difference and makes me more comfortable.

Philbin shared his opinion of Lamar Miller with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

He is very smart. I think he has really progressed from a mental standpoint as a professional in his second season. He has very good hands. We like a lot of the things he is doing in pass protection. Again, we have to temper our enthusiasm based on how he does in pads, but I think is understanding of how he fits in the protection scheme is very good. We use that term, ‘closing the distance.’ He has done an excellent job in that regard in the spring, so we’ll have to see how that carries over to the fall.

I can't add anything more to what Tannehill and Philbin have already said to make the case for  Miller as the starting running back. However, I am willing to try. Miller's yards per carry last season were 4.9, and he was a home run threat every time he touched the ball.

With Miller's increased carries should come increased production. What we saw last season was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of potential, skill and ability. He will get more carries, not only due to the departure of Reggie Bush, but also due to his improvement in pass-blocking.

That would only get better if Miami winds up winning the Vontae Leach sweepstakes in next years draft because of what Leach could add to Miami's pass protection.

The main question regarding Miller is how productive he will actually be, but we're going to have to wait for the start of the season to determine that.

Be sure to listen to Dolphins Central Radio on the PFC Radio Network (available on iTunes) co-hosted by yours truly, Thomas Galicia and Ryan Yousefi of the Miami New Times. Follow the show on Twitter @DolphinsCentral for show updates and to participate in the shows mailbag. New episodes debut every Wednesday night.