- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins made national headlines this offseason when they signed running back Knowshon Moreno in free agency. Moreno, who rushed for 1,000 yards last seaspn and started in the Super Bowl for the Denver Broncos, was expected to immediately fix Miami's 26th-ranked rushing attack from a year ago.
But Moreno didn't have the kind of start he wanted in Miami. He showed up to offseason workouts a couple steps slow and a little heavy this spring. Moreno also was bothered by a nagging knee injury and never looked fully healthy in organized team activities or minicamp. As a result, Moreno fell behind teammate Lamar Miller in the race to be Miami's starting tailback.
Moreno was taken off the physically unable to perform list late last week following summer knee surgery and saw his first action in team drills Monday. Moreno showed progress and flashes of the player he was in Denver.
"I'm definitely comfortable," Moreno said after Monday's practice. "I know what I'm doing out there and, if I have any questions, I can ask the quarterback. I can ask whoever. But I feel really good."
Monday's full-padded practice marked Moreno's first contact football since February's Super Bowl defeat.
Moreno looks in better shape than he was a month or two ago and hasn't been afraid to test his knee. Moreno made several sharp cuts in both the running and passing game. His best play Monday was an impressive inside run for about 25 yards. Moreno also showed good body lean and pad level during goal-line runs, which is an area Miami struggled last season.
Moreno admits he's still not 100 percent. "You're never 100 percent in this game," he said. But there are certain elements to his game -- such as pass protection and hands out of the backfield -- that Miami's offense desperately needs.
The Dolphins could continue to be cautious with Moreno and hold him out for at least one more preseason game. That reduces Moreno's chances of winning the starting job in the regular season. But getting healthy is his main focus.
"I mean, any of us [running] backs can get the job done and can be the starter," Moreno said. "So at this point, it's just doing the work that we have to do right here on the field and then going from there."