Miami Dolphins Should Not Give Up on Lamar Miller Just Yet

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IMarch 19, 2014

Sep 15, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller (26) scores a touchdown during the first quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

One year ago, he was the Miami Dolphins' next Reggie Bush. Now, people are discounting him completely. Why is everyone giving up on Lamar Miller?

Read articles around the web, or the comments here at B/R, and you will find many people who are clamoring for a new running back.

Others are simply glossing over the situation by saying that Miller is incapable of being an every-down back and Miami just needs to go get someone else.

Is that really it? Are we saying that after a one-year trial run on that offense is all Miller gets?

The offensive line was arguably one of the worst in NFL history. Fifty-eight sacks was bad, but trying to watch them open up holes along the middle of the line was even worse.

Tannehill couldn't get the pass game going because of that line, and teams really only had to pay (a little) attention to Mike Wallace down the field.

Other than that, I'm sure defensive coordinators were more than okay with how they stacked up against Miami's offense. Former second-round pick Daniel Thomas was brutal as a complementary back, and has no place on the Dolphins' offense.

Mike Sherman also displayed some of the worst play-calling ability that Miami fans have ever seen. His inability to adjust during games was excruciating to watch.

He also seemed to not understand how to establish any type of run game. He came out and defended abandoning the run after the Bills catastrophe in Week 16, but his logic made no sense.

The Bills had arguably the best pass-rush in the league, and one of the worst run defenses. Sherman should have came out and pounded the ball down their throats, but he inexplicably just played right into Buffalo's hands.

There were also reports about Miami players questioning Sherman after his inept play-calling came to a head in Miami's fourth straight loss in Week 8 against the Patriots.

This is pretty much all you need to know about Sherman, per a report by Dan Hanzus:

The Dolphins ran the ball 22 times for 120 yards in the first two quarters, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. The team ran just six times as the game quickly went from 17-3 to 17-17 in the third quarter.

There's no excuse for that kind of stupidity, and Sherman is a big reason that Miami's run (and pass) offense was among the worst in the NFL in 2013.

One can also just look at Miller's game-by-game statistics to see the inconsistencies in his workload, especially over the second half of the season.

Starting with a Week 7 loss to Buffalo, here are Miller's attempts week-by-week: 9, 18, 16, 7, 4, 10, 22, 6, 15, 3, 17.

How is a young running back (or an offense, for that matter) supposed to get into any type of rhythm with such inconsistency? 

Combine that with the well-known struggles of the offensive line and the fact that this was Miller's first season as the lead back, and it's no wonder that he didn't exactly light up score sheets.

Although he may not have done as poorly as people thought. He still averaged 4.0 yards per carry, and caught 26 passes for 170 yards while only fumbling the ball once.

No, Miller will not be a do-it-all workhorse of a back. He can't take 20-25 carries every single game and be effective.

And yes, he can sometimes be hesitant when hitting holes and isn't a great short-yardage back. He definitely needs a power back to complement his explosiveness and speed.

Aug 24, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller (26) is tackled by Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Michael Adams (21) during the first quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Running back is just too flimsy of a position at this point to invest highly in. Look at what's happened to Ray Rice, Darren McFadden and Arian Foster in the past year or so. Their play has declined seemingly out of nowhere because they're beat up.

Other veterans like Chris Johnson, who Miller had a better YPC average than this year, have slowed down really quick.

There have been a number of huge busts recently as well. Trent Richardson is the most well-known disappointment, but David Wilson has done almost nothing since being the 32nd overall pick two years ago. 

The bottom line is that this isn't the time to worry too much about running back. Alfred Morris, Zac Stacy, Andre Ellington and Joique Bell are all good examples of young late-round backs who found success already. 

Teams across the NFL have shown that less-heralded guys can be very productive if they are put in the right system and given a chance.

By my count, Miller was not really given a chance.

Miami still has holes to fill in free agency and the draft. They need at least a couple more offensive linemen, a linebacker upgrade would be nice, and cornerback depth is needed. The wide receiver and tight end corps stand to be improved as well.

Running back should simply not be a top priority at this point. I'm fully against signing a running back (so far so good), and this year's draft class is somewhat weak at the position.

If Miami used a second-round pick on a guy like Carlos Hyde or Tre Mason, it would be a colossal mistake. They have too many other needs, and those guys simply aren't that good.

Consider me in favor of waiting until at least the fourth or fifth round and seeing who is still there. A guy like Andre Williams or Devonta Freeman would be great, and I've already named Terrance West as a back for Miami to keep an eye on.

If GM Dennis Hickey rebuilds the offensive line, Tannehill continues developing, and Bill Lazor proves to be a competent play-caller, I have no doubt that Miller can be a productive feature back.

Let's not give up on this kid just yet. 


    Kraft Apologizes in 1st Statement Since Charges

    NFL logo

    Kraft Apologizes in 1st Statement Since Charges

    Mike Chiari
    via Bleacher Report

    Grant Progressing in His Road to Recovery

    Miami Dolphins logo
    Miami Dolphins

    Grant Progressing in His Road to Recovery

    Kyle Crabbs
    via Dolphins Wire

    Russell, Ciara to Speak to Wives at NFL Owners Meeting

    NFL logo

    Russell, Ciara to Speak to Wives at NFL Owners Meeting

    Mike Chiari
    via Bleacher Report

    Boom-or-Bust Predictions for Biggest Offseason Moves

    NFL logo

    Boom-or-Bust Predictions for Biggest Offseason Moves

    Brent Sobleski
    via Bleacher Report