Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 5/30/13
Can addition by subtraction benefit the Miami Dolphins and their running attack?The team lost leading rusher Reggie Bush to free agency when he signed a contract with the Detroit Lions. Bush took 986 yards rushing and 35 receptions from last year’s offense to Michigan where he will be the featured back in the the Lions “pass first” game plan.What will the exit of an exciting player like Bush do to the Dolphins as they prepare for the 2013 season?Not all is lost on the Dolphins and their plans for 2013. They still have to capable runners in their stable, Daniel Thomas, a second round pick in 2011 from Kansas State, and Lamar Miller, a fourth round selection in last year’s draft. Both figure to get the “lion share” of the carries in south Florida.Thomas found early success in the NFL, rushing for 107 yards in Week 2 and 95 yards with a receiving touchdown in Week 3 of his rookie campaign. Miami will count on the 6’1”, 233 pound back to do more of that this season. Miller is a bit smaller than Thomas at 5’11” and 215 pounds, but appears to be a slight bit faster. Both will be asked to catch the ball out of the backfield as Bush did in previous seasons.The Dolphins appear to have a new focus on the offense, having signed Mike Wallace to be their lead receiver and re-signed Brian Hartline to be their second option. The team also added Dustin Keller who had a nice career in New York playing for the Jets. But can the new toys in the offense make the running a “secret weapon” for Joe Philbin and his coaching staff? That remains to be seen.The running game actually is more rounded this season. According to Andy Kent of miamidolphins.com, the depth chart has not been released yet, so no starter has been declared. But while Thomas and Miller (or Miller and Thomas) will see plenty of action, rookie Mike Gillislee of Florida, a player who ran against some of the best defenses in the country last season playing in the SEC, could also be a factor in short-yardage situations.The team must also take into consideration that Thomas is an injury-prone back, which makes three runners in this system a better option than relying on someone who may not be able to remain healthy.The Dolphins finished 7-9 last season with an offense that was less than average by NFL standards. The team scored an average of 18 points per contest, which ranked 27th of 32 teams. As a whole, the team rushed for only 1802 yards in the season and scored 15 touchdowns.
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