After an impressive week one performance against the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins’ running back Knowshon Moreno dislocated his left elbow in the first quarter on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins were counting on Moreno to be the bell-cow for their offense this season, but his injury appears to be very serious, and they will be without him for a while.
Lamar Miller, who was already splitting carries with Moreno, will likely take on an even larger role in his absence. Miller, the third year back with impressive speed and agility, ran the ball 11 times against the Bills for 46 yards. In Week 1 against the Patriots, Miller had 59 rushing yards on 11 attempts, and even caught a touchdown out of the backfield. Miller is a talented back with some nice upside, but he will not be able to carry the entire load for the Dolphins’ offense.
On Monday, the Dolphins brought back running back Daniel Thomas, who they had cut before the season. Thomas was a second round pick by the Dolphins back in 2011, but he never reached the potential that the team once saw in him. Thomas’ 3.6 career yards per carry average leaves plenty to be desired, but he is familiar with the system and organization.
Also on the Dolphins’ roster is rookie running back Damien Williams. After going undrafted out of the University of Oklahoma, the Dolphins gave Williams a chance in camp. He impressed right away, including producing at a high level in the last two preseason games, earning himself a spot on the roster over Thomas.
Williams is a quick and shifty back with good vision and power. He has a strong build at 5-foot-11, 222 pounds and is a perfect fit for offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s zone blocking system. Williams is also a good receiving threat out of the backfield, which is also a huge plus in Lazor’s system.
In Moreno’s absence on Sunday against the Bills, Williams did carry the ball five times for 19 yards. While those numbers are not super impressive, he did show a nice burst and an impressive mix of power and speed.
While Miller will get the first chance to replace Moreno’s carries, Williams should get a fair crack as well. He is as talented as any back on the roster, and while he is completely inexperienced, easing him into an opportunity limits the risk.
The Dolphins already know what they have in the Miller/Thomas combination, and it is uninspiring to say the least. Williams has more pure talent and upside than any other running back currently on the Dolphins’ roster, why not give him an opportunity to show he belongs?