Saturday, August 23, 2014
Should Dolphins start Knowshon Moreno?
By James Walker
MIAMI -- Can one strong preseason game supersede an entire offseason and training camp?
That is the dilemma currently facing the Miami Dolphins with running backs Knowshon Moreno and incumbent starter Lamar Miller.
Moreno made an impressive Miami debut Saturday night during a 25-20 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. He led all rushers with 64 yards on 10 carries (6.4-yard average). Moreno also showed good vision, burst and the ability to finish runs in his first game of 2014. These are things Miller struggled with this during the previous two preseason games.
However, Miller has been the most consistent running back in practices, dating back to organized team activities in the spring. Miller also has been the healthier tailback -- and the most available. Moreno struggled this spring on a gimpy knee and wasn't in the best of shape. He’s only now rounding into form in late August following recent knee surgery.
But Moreno’s performance against Dallas certainly was enough to make Miami’s coaching staff rethink their depth chart at running back. Should Moreno be the starter in Week 1 of the regular season?
“We haven’t released anything,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said after the game of his tailback situation. “We’re still evaluating right up until we name our starter. I thought [Moreno] played well.”
This is certainly an interesting situation for the Dolphins. When they released their first official depth chart this summer, Moreno was listed as the fourth running back. Some of it was a farce because he hadn’t done much in training camp up until that point. But Moreno, at best, was the No. 2 running back heading into Miami’s third preseason game.
Now, expect a lot of chatter in South Florida about making Moreno the No. 1 running back. He’s coming off a career year in 2013 with the AFC champion Denver Broncos and showed some of that form against Dallas. Meanwhile, Miller didn’t flourish in his first season as a starter last year and remains a question mark.
“I can’t control where I am on the depth chart,” Moreno explained. “That’s all about the coaches, and they have to do those things. I just have to come out and prepare and get ready for each games. I think all us running backs are prepared to be No. 1.”
Starter or not, expect Moreno to be a key cog in Miami’s offense. He brings a physical element to the Dolphins they haven’t had since Ricky Williams.
The Dolphins will use the next 10 days of practices to make the call on their starting running back before they host the New England Patriots Sept. 7 in the regular-season opener.