The Miami Dolphins ran the ball 20 times against the Los Angeles Chargers, but only 13 of those attempts went to running backs in the 36-34 win. Raheem Mostert closed with 10 carries, and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa finished with five rushing yards on five attempts.
Wide receiver Erik Ezukanma was tossed into the mix and led the team by averaging 8.5 yards on his two attempts. The former fourth-round draft pick played 19 snaps, lined up out wide 12 times, and was in the backfield twice, according to PFF.
“When we’re doing different things with guys throughout training camp, we try and use them in ways that best fit how they can contribute,” offensive coordinator Frank Smith said on Thursday. “Obviously you guys saw the run he had in the preseason, right? Coming around the horn. With the defense and what they presented, we thought we saw an option to do that. Then at the same time, we also did it with two halfbacks.
“We use guys in a multitude of ways because ultimately when you have guys that have a broad skill set of different things, our challenge is to put guys in situations to do what they do well. I think the challenge will be continuing to grow in all that.”
Ezukanma caught just one pass for three yards as a rookie, but defensive coordinators must now adjust for his potential out of the backfield. Most of Miami’s passing targets go to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle while Durham Smythe, Braxton Berrios, and River Cracraft saw at least five targets last Sunday.
Ezukanma may be near the bottom of the food chain but coach Mike McDaniel might’ve found a way to skip the line and get the former First-team All-Big 12 receiver involved.
“That’s stuff that you try as a coaching staff to see and open your mind to the unique skillsets of certain players,” McDaniel said on Monday. “For that game, it made sense to try to introduce that a bit. Whether that’s something that we expand upon just depends on the opponent and the pros and cons of what that does, if anything.
“We felt like that was a good way to get him the ball that way and get him some opportunities and get the defense talking a bit.”