Miami Dolphins: How Troubling is Knowshon Moreno's Injury?

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Knowshon Moreno is set to have a knee scope this week to clean up any potentially damaging debris. Moreno has had his share of problems since becoming a Miami Dolphins, such as weight issues and being low on the depth chart, but how troubling is this latest obstacle?

Knowshon Moreno, the former Denver Bronco who accounted for over 1,500 all-purpose yards in 2013, will undergo a knee scope which will sideline him for about a month sometime this week.

This development came the same day that the news broke that Mike Pouncey had hip surgery and would be out for three months. Both injuries blindsided the Miami Dolphins, but one surgery is much more impactful than the other.

Moreno, as I wrote last week before it was confirmed that Moreno would indeed need surgery, may not even be the back best suited for the Dolphins' new system under offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Lazor's system is based on speed and tempo, and it's an offense that fast/ quick players will thrive in.

Does that last description better describe Moreno or his competition, Lamar Miller?

With that being said, Moreno is a reliable back is good at just about everything, and this is the reason the Dolphins signed him instead of going for the home-run hitter who fits the offense perfectly but has a bad attitude, Chris Johnson (who happened to sign with the New York Jets).

The Dolphins determined that they had a Johnson-like back in Miller so opted to go with the guy who had just about everything the Dolphins' backfield had been lacking.

Moreno's pass blocking prowess, his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, and his nack for getting posistive yardage on strong runs are all things that Miami's backfield didn't excel at in 2013.

Moreno, who has been called steady-yet-unspectacular, has been well-documented for his lack of ability to break big plays. Moreno had the shortest "longest run" of the season, 31 yards, for any running back with over 1,000 yards rushing besides, ironically, the aforementioned Chris Johnson (30). Both had only five carries of over twenty yards in 2013.

However, Moreno's real worth comes in his ability to consistently gain near his average, which was 4.3 yards in 2013.

Some running backs, such as Miller, have their yards-per-carry average inflated due to scampers which gain them large chunks of yardage in one swoop. A running back could have 25 attempts in a game, run for no-gain on 20 of those rushes and then bust five of them for 20 yards to have a four YPC average (which is usually the bar between good and bad running backs).

One of the biggest obstacles to overcome for the 2013 Dolphins was second and third-and long. Miami was 28th in the NFL in yards on first down and, coincidentally, converted only 35% of their third down attempts, which ranked the Dolphins 24th in the NFL. Four yards is the magic number on first down to offensive success, so that steadiness and ability to punch out for yards a pop will be missed greatly during Moreno's absence.

Conversion rates:

When you examine the success rate of converting second and third downs from the years 2005-2008 in a study done by Pat Kirwin, you can see why getting 4-plus yards on first down is key to offensive success.

Down/ Distance Success Pct.
Second-and-1-5 yards 56
Second-and-6-9 yards 27
Second-and-10-plus 17
Third-and-1 67
Third-and-2 52
Third-and-3 49
Third-and-4 47
Third-and-5 42
Third-and-6 41
Third-and-7 37
Third-and-8 32
Third-and-9 32
Third-and-ten-plus

20

However, now that I've properly explained Moreno's worth after selling him short in last week's article, it must be revealed that this injury will really have no impact besides a loss of time for Moreno to work himself back into football shape as it was noticed by many that the running back looked a bit pugdy in offseason workouts.

Moreno should be ready in time for training camp in little over a month, but if any setback is suffered after this surgery to clean out his knee, my verdict will change.

While I don't think Moreno is the back best suited for this offense, besides his proficiency in this passing game, I know that he provides skill sets that this Dolphins team desperately needs.

As it stands now, Moreno's injury isn't a factor, besides the fact that it will take him longer to get ready for the 2014 season. Any setbacks will foreshadow trouble for the Dolphins, who would be much more limited in the versatility department when it comes to the runnning back unit.

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