The Miami Dolphins are preparing to play their 12th game of the 2015 regular season, hoping to put together a respectable end to a bad year. The Dolphins fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor this week, looking to spark a stagnant offense and return to a run-pass balance. Miami now has five games to try to figure out exactly who they are, make decisions on players they want to keep or re-sign for next year, and determine if Dan Campbell is the coach of the future for the team.
Running back Lamar Miller could prove to be the biggest beneficiary of the offensive coordinator change. depite discussions of quarterback Ryan Tannehill being more involved in the game planning and, potentially, being allowed to audible more, a return to the run game should help Miller, especially as he heads into free agency this offseason. Miller, who surpassed 1,000 yards rushing last season, is on pace to barely pass 800 yards this year.
In other words, Miller is averaging 51.5 rushing yards per game this year. To reach 1,000 yards, he has to average 86.6 yards over the last five games, meaning he has to see his production - and more importantly carries - jump dramatically. Miller is averaging just 10.8 carries per game this year, and has a combined 12 carries in the team's last two games.
Zac Taylor, the team's quarterbacks coach who has replaced Lazor with offensive coordinator duties, has said the team will return to running the ball more. One of the biggest factors in interim head coach Dan Campbell's frustration with Lazor was, reportedly, the lack of a running game. If Taylor does add back in a commitment to the run, Miller should be the primary beneficiary, followed closely by rookie Jay Ajayi. Together, Miami has the capability of attacking teams with a talented 1-2 punch on the ground.
The Dolphins are 0-7 on the season when Miller has fewer than 13 carries in a game. They are 4-0 when he cas at least 13 carries. Correlation may not imply causation here, with Miami guaranteed to win the next game in which Miller reaches 13 carries, but the implication of needing to run the ball more - through play calling, fewer drive stalling penalties, and eliminating huge deficits allowed in recent games - in order to help win games is clear.
Miami needs to run the ball more. The team says they are going to run the ball more. Miller will absolutely see the most benefit from a return to a balanced offense.