This morning, the Miami Dolphins placed running back Knowshon Moreno on injured reserve in a move that surprised many. Moreno appeared to injure his knee during the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers, but he waved off being replaced by Lamar Miller for the next play. He did not return to the game after that next play, a touchdown pass, but nothing seemed to indicate it was a serious knee injury.
Everyone, to include Moreno, seemed surprised this morning with the extent of the injury, described by the team as an "ACL injury," thought to be a tear. Moreno was playing in his first game since a Week 2 elbow dislocation sidelined him for two games. Now, his season is done and the Dolphins have to find a replacement.
The obvious answer for the Dolphins, at least in the bulk of carries area, is to allow Lamar Miller to continue in his role as the starter, with Daniel Thomas, who was inactive Sunday with Moreno's return, to be the number two, change of pace/power back. Miami could be looking a different direction, however, as the team updated their depth chart after Moreno's injury to move rookie Damien Williams into the number two position, with Thomas third.
After those three, the Dolphins do not have any other running backs on the 53-man roster.
They do have LaMichael James, recently signed as a free agent after being waived by the San Francisco 49ers, and rookie Orleans Darkwa on the practice squad, either of which could be promoted, if Miami is willing to release a player to make the roster space.
The team released wide receiver/running back Marcus Thigpen from his practice squad position today.
Looking to replace Moreno, Thomas is the closest in pass catching, pass protection, and power running. James could get a shot at the roster, but he is a quick back in the Miller mold more than he is a natural replacement for Moreno. Darkwa is an option as he is a bigger bodied back (6-foot, 215-pounds compared to Moreno's 5-foot-11, 220 pounds), but he, like Williams, is an undrafted free agent who may or may not be ready to perform at the NFL level.
The Dolphins could also look to the free agent market, though the pickings there are fairly slim at this point, and six weeks into the season, there is no telling what kind of shape a free agent may still find himself if the Dolphins were to call.
(Of note, I kind of wish Ronnie Brown had not re-signed with the San Diego Chargers last week. He could have been a decent depth option in this situation.)
Where will the Dolphins turn for running back depth with Moreno gone for the year? Are there any free agents that you would consider? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.