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Re-examining Dolphins' depth at tailback

11/25/2013

Miami Dolphins backup tailback Daniel Thomas suffered a season-ending ankle injury, according to both ESPN and the Sun Sentinel. Thomas was a key contributor on offense who earned a lot of playing time this year. He also was a favorite of Miami’s coaching staff.

Thomas was Miami’s second-leading rusher with 279 yards on 77 carries. He also had three rushing touchdowns.

So what’s next for the Dolphins at tailback? Let’s examine.

Lamar Miller: 475 yards, 114 carries, two touchdowns

Analysis: Miller is Miami’s leading rusher, but he’s also the most inconsistent. He’s only produced one 100-yard game. On the flip side, Miller has four games of 17 rushing yards or fewer. With Thomas out, consistency will be the key for Miller in the final five games of the season. Expect Miller’s workload to increase along with his expectations.

Mike Gillislee: No stats

Analysis: Gillislee is a rookie who has waited his turn at every stop. He waited at the University of Florida for an opportunity to be a feature back. This year Gillislee was inactive all season behind Miller and Thomas. The Dolphins may have no choice but to provide Gillislee a chance off the bench. He had a decent preseason. But the regular season is a difference challenge.

Marcus Thigpen: 8 yards, two carries

Analysis: Thigpen is Miami’s return specialist but still an unknown as a running back. He hasn’t received many opportunities as the Dolphins’ third running back behind Miller and Thomas. Thigpen is a threat catching balls out of the backfield. He averages 19.7 yards per reception. But it remains to be seen if Miami’s coaching staff has confidence in Thigpen as a pure runner.