DAVIE, Fla. The Miami Dolphins running game will revolve around someone new for the first time in three years.
Reggie Bush, the Dolphins leading rusher in both 2011 & 12, bolted for the Detroit Lions via free agency in March.
Considering Bushs mileage and salary expectations, it was little surprise Miami let the seven-year veteran run away.
More interesting, however, is how the Dolphins plan to replace Bush internally. The team did not sign a veteran free agent running back, andselected only one rusher (Floridas Mike Gillislee, fifth round) in this years draft.
We liked the guys we had, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said during the teams latest organized training activities on Wednesday. We liked the guys we had in the locker room. We thought there was potential there. We thought there was opportunity for growth and development out of those guys.
Well see how that goes here in the coming weeks and months.
Lamar Miller, in his second year from the University of Miami, appears to lead the depth chart. Then theres Daniel Thomas, the 2011 second-round pick from Kansas State. Marcus Thigpen, Jonas Gray, free agent Cameron Marshall (Arizona State) and Gillislee also are vying for time.
Reggie was a good guy, but now its a lot of younger guys, Miller said. Were all out here to compete and to try to win the starting position.
Everybodys mindset is to start, so we just have to come out here and compete every day and get each other better.
Miller, who has worked out with fellow UM alum and current San Francisco 49ers star Frank Gore this offseason, reportedly has set goals of 1,500 yards and a 5.0 yard per carry average for 2013 extremely lofty considering he hasnt been tabbed the Dolphins' starter.
Such confidence by Miller is understandable. In 2011, he became the Hurricanes first 1,000-yard rusher since Willis McGahee in 2002.
I feel Im more of an explosive guy, speed type of runner, said Miller,who also ran track at UM. I just want to show the coaches what I can do.
At 5-foot-10, 218 pounds, Miller is smaller that the 6-1, 233-pound Thomas.
But Philbin is looking for something other than size in his ball carrier.
Versatility, somebody we can depend on, the coach said at last weeks OTA. And then somebody, quite frankly, who can break some tackles.
That might bode well for Miller, but the coach wasnt tipping his handWednesday.
Its wide open at this particular point in time, Philbin said of the race to replace Bush. What were doing now is were installing in every phase of the game and exposing our players to as many things we can possibly teach.
Charlie McCarthy can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas