It seems like every year, the story around the Miami Dolphins’ offense is how they are going to be a run-first team, using that to set up the play-action pass - which would play straight into the strengths of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Except, the Dolphins were quick - under both former head coach Adam Gase and under his predecessor Joe Philbin - to abandon the run, which makes it hard for a play-action passing game to work.
The Dolphins last had a 1,000 yard rusher in 2016 when Jay Ajayi reached that mark. In the past 10 seasons, the team has only had four 1,000 yard rushers (Ajayi in 2016, Lamar Miller in 2014, Reggie Bush in 2011, and Ricky Williams in 2009). Add another five years, and you only add Ronnie Brown in 2006 to the total.
The Dolphins ranked 18th in rushing yards last year, 29th in 2017, 9th in 2016, 23rd in 2015, 12th in 2014, 26th in 2013, 17th in 2012, 11th in 2011, 21st in 2010, and 4th in 2009.
The Dolphins have running backs who can do special things with the ball in their hands. Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage should be the top two runners for the team this year, with Kenneth Farrow, Mark Walton, Myles Gaskin, and Patrick Laird all hoping for a roster spot as the depth players.
They even drafted a full back in Auburn’s Chandler Cox.
It appears the new Miami coaching staff, with head coach Brian Flores and offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea leading the way, wants to run the ball. They want to have a running attack. They want to get the ball into the hands of play makers. And Miami’s running backs can be play makers.
The NFL is still a passing league, but the Dolphins need to not abandon the run - especially in the second half of games - as they have in recent seasons. Let Drake show what he can be. Let the running backs take some of the pressure off quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and/or Josh Rosen. Let the run game flourish.
The Dolphins will be better for it and we should start to see some of that emphasis this summer during training camp and on to the preseason.