Continuing with my series "Keep Moving Forward" where I give my opinions on how we can improve this football team's depth and overall talent through the draft or free agency. Today I'll be focusing on the backfield and our usually lackluster running game.
Listen gang, I love what I saw from Daniel Thomas his last couple of appearances as much as the next guy...but look, see that picture? It shows that he's injured, which is an all too common occurrence. Not to mention his body of work doesn't justify all these injuries and his inconsistencies on the football field. With all that being said however, I cannot - no matter how much I may want to - ignore the things that Daniel Thomas has accomplished as of late. He's managed to finally show what he's capable of, but the only question is can he do it consistently?
Honestly, I believe he can...but what I don't believe as of yet is that he has the motivation to do it. As for Lamar Miller, I believe he can be on the same level as a Reggie Bush with more experience, but he needs a true backup he can platoon with in order to pull it off. That's where we begin. When I play Madden, my favorite part is making trades and signing free agents, I enjoy that more than playing the game itself. So I'll start with free agents, and a name that Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel suggested himself.
Look familiar? He should, he shoved the ball down our throats all too often last week. LeGarrette Blount is exactly what we need in our backfield: An honest to goodness bruiser who can fight for yards and push people out of his way ala Larry Csonka...ok maybe not Csonka, but you get the picture. With Blount becoming a free agent in the offseason, Miami should do their very best to get this guy in a Dolphins uniform. Like I said earlier, I like what I'm seeing from Daniel Thomas, but consistency is an issue. Plus, on pure power running, I don't think Thomas reaches the same level as Blount. It's time we brought in a back who can consistently get us that extra inch for a first down.
The only problem with Blount...is that he's a New England Patriot...and it isn't often that Bill Belichick actually allows a talented player to escape, so unless we throw a ton of money at him, I don't see Blount coming to Miami. So now we have to look at another possibility.
Peyton Hillis took the NFL by storm in 2010, even becoming the Madden 12 cover man...then the curse...began...to take its toll. Hillis's numbers dropped off almost immediately and he quickly became irrelevant in the following seasons. As of now, he's on the New York Giants roster, and he's only played six games so far this year. He's running for a mere 3.4 yards a carry on an absolutely pathetic Giants squad, and he hasn't been able to make a huge impact because of the players around him. He will be a free agent next season, and he more than likely won't be looking for a huge contract. Is Peyton Hillis a lateral move to Daniel Thomas? That's a possibility, but Hillis more than likely won't be picky about contracts, and he may take an opportunity to prove himself without guaranteed money being involved. I would like to see the Dolphins give Hillis a chance to prove he's better than Thomas and regain the form he had three years ago.
Hmm, remember this? Ahmad Bradshaw ran pretty darn well against us and he was a star for a while in New York...wonder if the Giants miss him? Anyway, Ahmad Bradshaw was on his way to another excellent season, having run for an average of 4.5 yards a carry before he got hurt again. At this point in time, Bradshaw seems to be a very high risk - high reward Runningback who when healthy, can light up a defense with the best of them. I look at Bradshaw and I think back to all the other gambles that have paid off in recent years. Didn't Drew Brees overcome his injury? Yep, he's a champion now. What about this year? Dustin Keller was on his way to having a great season until that low blow that pretty much destroyed his leg...Brent Grimes? I definitely think that gamble paid off. Despite his injury-prone self, we should at least consider Ahmad Bradshaw in a Dolphins uniform as he'd be an instant upgrade, if healthy.
We've heard the rumors time and time again. Will the Dolphins make a trade for Maurice Jones-Drew? The answer's always been no. But now he's going to hit the free agent market, and he's made it pretty clear that he doesn't want to be in Jacksonville anymore (and who can blame him?) and wants to join a new team. There are a few downsides to Jones-Drew however. One is that he'd be looking for a pretty lucrative contract, two is that he's getting old (as far as RBs go)...despite that however, can we definitively say that Daniel Thomas will be able to perform better than Jones-Drew on a regular basis? I'm not willing to say that. I would take a glance Jones-Drew's direction at least.
Ben Tate. He's really come into his own as a starting-caliber RB rather than just the backup to the great Arian Foster. He'll be looking for big money, but for a player of Tate's talent and caliber, he'd be worth it. Lemme rattle off some stats for you. In his three year career, with Arian Foster as a platoon mate, he's run for 1,992 yards with 4.7 yards a carry. He's only 25 years old. If I'm the Miami Dolphins, I'm looking to bring in Ben Tate and have him take over the starting job altogether, he can platoon with Lamar Miller every once in a while. Tate's a strong runner and he'd immediately upgrade the running game to the point of being an actual threat.
Ok...admittedly this is for nostalgia more than anything else. Ronnie Brown is not the same Ronnie Brown who could run the Wildcat with Ricky Williams and light up a defense. But he is an experienced veteran, he's a fan favorite (of this fan at least), and he could provide a little leadership and perspective for our young backs. Veteran leadership (even quiet leadership) is extremely valuable and if we're going to bring in a veteran, might as well be someone we know. It isn't all nostalgia though, Brown has been able to accumulate 3.5 yards a carry for the San Diego Chargers this year, so he's still got a little left in the tank. He won't be looking for huge money or anything, he'd be a cheap veteran who is familiar with the Miami atmosphere. Who wants to have a reunion? (raises hand)
There are a few others out there, Bernard Scott of the Bengals comes to mind, or maybe a Willis McGahee...but I would rather see the above-mentioned players. Would you all prefer someone else? Or is there someone in the draft you've got your eye on? Lemme know in the comments, would love to hear from you guys.