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Dolphins’ coaches detail the challenges of facing Austin Ekeler

The Los Angeles running back can do damage in a number of ways.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Keenan Allen is returning to form after an injury hamstring kept him out of the lineup for a handful of weeks. Mike Williams, who practiced all week for the Chargers, is returning to the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins (8-4).

Despite an offense that can win down the field with quarterback Justin Herbert, running back Austin Ekeler remains an x-factor for the Chargers (6-6).

“Ekeler is a phenomenal player,” Dolphins’ defensive coordinator Josh Boyer said on Thursady. “He’s probably, in my opinion, a guy that doesn’t get talked about enough. Obviously he’s up there in the league stats as far as yards after catch. They targeted him a lot in the pass game. They use him a lot in the run game. He’s got great contact balance. He does a phenomenal job. He’s going to fight for yards and he’s elusive in space. So we’re going to have our hands full. “

Ekeler has seven rushing touchdowns to go with five receiving touchdowns and 1,153 total yards on the year.

“He is a guy that is a great player and like most great players in the league, the answer for them is not one person,” coach Mike McDaniel said of facing Ekeler. “He does a great job of taking advantage of space and when there’s not proper tracking or maybe you’re playing a defense that doesn’t come out of the stack that fast and the d-linemen aren’t hunting after their pass rush; he makes them pay every time because he will routinely make the first person miss and as long as the technique’s right, you’re okay with that.

“But where he makes all of his damage is really exposing defenses that don’t pursue well, so that will be something that we have to execute well for us to be happy with the results.”