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Sunday was a major step forward for Raheem Mostert and Miami’s rushing attack

Did the offense turn the page after a slow start on the ground?

Syndication: The Record Kevin R. / USA TODAY NETWORK

One of Miami’s first moves on March 17, when free agency officially began, was to acquire free agent running back Chase Edmonds on a two-year deal. While the addition held the spotlight, the team also added Raheem Mostert on a one-year deal.

Following the money, and the fact that Mostert was recovering from a knee injury that forced him to miss most of the 2021 season, the assumption was Edmonds would be the featured back.

Edmonds was on the field for 63 percent of snaps in Week 1 against the New England Patriots, but that number has dropped each week. Mostert, on the other hand, has been on the field for 46 snaps in each of the last two weeks.

On Sunday against the New York Jets, Mostert notched 113 yards on 18 carries, both season-bests for the Dolphins. With a third-string rookie quarterback under center, coach Mike McDaniel leaned on Mostert, who showcased all the skills needed to thrive in a zone-blocking scheme.

Edmonds comparing each play to a wave is the perfect example of what Mike McDaniel is trying to accomplish with the zone-blocking scheme. Keep your feet moving, keep riding the wave and wait for something to happen.

Before last Thursday, Mostert’s longest run of the year was 11 yards. Over the last two weeks, however, he’s ripped off runs of 24 and 25 yards. While Miami’s rushing attack took a few weeks to find its rhythm, having receivers like Tyreek Hill blocking downfield helped to isolate one-on-one matchups at the second level.

What separates Mostert from the pack is his ability to disengage and prevent defenders from getting a shot at a simple tackle.

The Jets are in the bottom half of the league, surrendering 4.5 yards per rush, but Sunday’s performance can be a promising sign moving forward.

Mostert looks like the player who rushed for a career-best 772 yards on the ground in 2019 and the team totaled 137 rushing yards against the Jets, a sharp increase from Miami’s average of 82.8 yards per game, which ranks No. 30 in the NFL.

With all that being said, it’s important to not write off Edmonds just yet — despite just seven yards on six carries over the last two weeks. In the short term, Mostert was held out of practice on Wednesday with a knee injury. Additionally, McDaniel has always been a coach determined to maximize a player’s strengths.

“I think that comes down to McDaniel finding out what he likes about what each back uses. It’s kind of just like a puzzle piece,” Edmonds said earlier this offseason when asked about how his head coach will utilize the running backs. “You have to figure out which puzzle fits the piece at that time. If he feels like he needs something for a certain play, he might call on Myles or Raheem and if he feels like he needs something else for another play, he might call on me, so that’s why he is the head coach and gets paid what he gets paid. He has to figure that out.”