Thursday, October 17, 2013
Can Dolphins finally run the football?
By James Walker
DAVIE, Fla. -- It is rare that you hear a strong-armed quarterback discuss the running game. But things have been so bad on the ground for Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill that it certainly warrants a discussion.
The Dolphins’ running game hasn’t done Tannehill many favors in his second season. Miami is ranked 29th in rushing at 69.6 yards per game. The Dolphins have yet to have a 100-yard rusher in any game this season. Still, Tannehill has led the Dolphins to a 3-2 record and an 88.5 passer rating.
Miami would like to find out what Tannehill could do this year with a better rushing attack, and it starts Sunday against the AFC East-rival Buffalo Bills (2-4).
“It’s huge,” Tannehill said of establishing a running game. “Obviously, not only gaining yards, putting us in third-and-manageable, opens up play-action and those type of things for us as well. It’s something that we’re really going to focus on heading into the second half of the season and continue grinding.”
Sunday is a good opportunity for Miami to get its running game on the right path. The Bills have had issues stopping the run the past several years and currently are 28th against the run. Buffalo is allowing 124.2 rushing yards per game.
The Dolphins' problem running the ball is two-fold. Their offensive line isn’t creating running lanes up front and tailbacks Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas aren’t doing a good job of eluding tacklers. With two weeks to rest and prepare for this game, the Dolphins are confident that they fixed at least some of their issues in the running game.
“I don’t know if we could not run the ball. We certainly didn’t have the production we wanted,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said of the first five games. “There was sometimes from a schematics standpoint where we choose not to run the football.”
If the Dolphins, with two weeks to prepare, cannot establish the run against Buffalo on Sunday, it could be a long season on the ground in Miami.