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Training Camp Breakdown: Running Backs
By on August 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Time to continue our breakdown of the positional battles taking place in training camp this year and focus on the running backs. With Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams both looking like they’ll be playing elsewhere in 2011, there are plenty of carries and yards that must be accounted for by the rest of the group.

There are several new faces at the position, but none bigger than Reggie Bush and rookie Daniel Thomas.

Bush comes to the Fins after five years in New Orleans and he arrives with plenty of fanfare. One of the biggest names in the NFL, it’ll be interesting to see how Tony Sparano and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll use him. A tremendous threat catching the ball out of the backfield, you’ve got to figure that they’ll pick their spots with Bush and find different and creative ways to get the explosive playmaker the ball.

Thomas, meanwhile, is a horse. Listed at 6’1 and 228 lbs., he certainly passes the “eye test.” A big strong guy with good speed and athleticism, the rookie looks like he could be a carry-the-load kind of back for the Dolphins. Don’t forget that he was a quarterback in junior college and that he ran some Wildcat for Kansas State while he was there. I certainly expect to see some of that.

Of course, with the new CBA, we’ve yet to see Bush practice yet and the same can be said for Lex Hilliard and Kory Sheets, both of whom re-signed with Miami but cannot practice until tomorrow. I expect big things out of Hilliard. The fact that this team has kept him around for as long as they have makes me think they’ve got a plan for him. Sheets, meanwhile, is exceptionally fast and could be a factor on special teams in addition to the offense. He received a lot of attention early in training camp last year before suffering the Achilles’ injury that ended his season.

Finally, there’s Nic Grigsby, the un-drafted rookie out of Arizona. Because Bush, Hilliard, and Sheets have all had to watch from the sidelines, Grigsby has gotten an early opportunity to get practice reps. It’ll be interesting to see if that experience is something that helps him make this team.

Overall, there is definite depth for the Dolphins in the backfield. If the group stays the same (and I wouldn’t guarantee that it does), I’d expect Thomas to get the bulk of the carries. He handled the ball a TON at Kansas State and I don’t see any reason why that will change in Miami. Bush and Sheets will be the change of pace guys, while I’d expect Hilliard to stay involved one way or the other.

If the offensive line can help open things up and the running backs can improve their yards per carry, I expect big things out of this group in 2011. If the Dolphins are to be successful offensively, they’ll need to run the ball, and it looks like they’ve got some pretty good options at the position.

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The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

11 Responses to “Training Camp Breakdown: Running Backs”

  1. MiamiDfann70 says:

    I have to say that I am disappointed at the Dolphins organization for not resigning Ricky Williams. We still need a back like him! A durable back and Bush is not it, Thomas might be some day but I think he could and should learn from a back like Ricky. To me and I’m sure a lot of other fans agree that by not signing him you are not doing everything possible to win a championship! Bring Ricky back Miami wants him back!

  2. Scoobiedr says:

    The dolphins don’t have a proven back on their roster! Counting on a rookie? Not the way to start the season. They need to sign back Ricky Williams as soon as possible. They worked out Tiki Barber?! Are you kidding me! Soprano its as handcuffed with these decisions as Henne was with the offense. Show some stones and get Ricky signed!

  3. MiamiDfann70 says:

    Ricky wants to finish his career here in Miami. Please don’t let him go to the Jets or the Patriots! It was hard enough to see JT in a dreadful Jets uniform. I and a few of my friends who have never missed a home game since 1990 want to see Ricky back in Aqua and Orange! He is the missing piece to the puzzle. I am not one of those guys that hate on Henne I think he will turn it around but we need a strong back that will take the pressure off of Henne. Bring Ricky back and lets win a Super Bowl!

  4. joneilthe2 says:

    I am very supprised the Dolphins have not signed Ricky. He still can out run a lot of other backs and the fact the fans love him makes him a plus. They brought JT back and you know he doesn’t have much in the tank anymore. It was all PR for him, so why not let Ricky run run run. He is one of the most exciting players the Dolphins have ever had, even if he did take some time off.

  5. reggiebush8 says:

    well i think reggie bush should start ive been his fan forever now since he went to miami im a miami fan i only like reggie and only reggie when reggie retires i guess ill stay with miami but i think if miami gets a good QB then they might have a chance at playoffs but kyle ortan or whatever is not good at all but they got a god D as i heard but they got a good RBs and this ricky guy i heard he is good but old .

  6. MiamiDfann70 says:

    I think Reggie is a good addition to Miami but a good change up runner and he will most likely be the feature back. Ricky would add really good depth and can still carry the ball 20+ times in a game. He still has that burst of speed and the only reason he lost that break away speed last year was that the Dolphins asked him to put on weight. Ricky does not mind being a feature back if need be, he knows he’s older now and can’t carry the ball 30+ times a game like he did earlier in his career. He wants to win a championship and he wants to win it with Miami! Lets get him signed there is only a upside with having him on this team! Come on South Florida lets Rally around Ricky and get him signed back where he belongs!

  7. MiamiDfann70 says:

    I think Reggie and Ricky would be a dangerous combo! It will give opposing defenses that much more to worry about.

  8. Paulmatthew22 says:

    I thought the offensive line played pretty good last yr,.they gave up very few sacks,.Chad Henne has more than enough time,.I thought the running backs let us down,.No long gains on runs at all last yr when they got creases,.You have to get some big plays out of your running game if you want to utilize it to the max,.time for some new guys to get their chance

  9. MiamiDfann70 says:

    The OL did play pretty well especially in pass protection but, the interior broke down wich is why we had so much problems getting the wildcat to even work. Teams new they could run blitz the outside because we couldn’t run it inside. That is a big problem and it was something they addressed this year, such as moving Vernon Carey to Guard. This will help us now run between the tackles. Ronnie & Ricky are both down hill runners and would have benefited greatly from this. Also Ricky did have a 50 yard TD last season. This year they wanted to address their problems from last year and they did just that but for one exception and that was to have 1 solid experienced HB on the roster. This could be our Achilles heal this season. Bush in the last 5 season has averaged 8.7 carries a game. Can you really call him an experienced vet? Don’t think Sparano & Ireland don’t know that this is a problem any good coach knows what his teams weaknesses are. I mean why do you think they would even work out a guy like Tiki? Because of his experience and what that experience could bring to this core of backs. Hammer away all you want but the point you seem to be missing is that what we had with Ricky was a RB that was still averaging 4.2 yrds. per carry and has 11 years experience. This decision to not bring Williams back was personal because you just don’t move on from that kind of talent.

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