The Miami Dolphins new head coach has made it clear from the start that the running game is a priority. Last night, you wouldn’t think that was the case.
To be fair, completely fair, the Buccaneers’ defensive front is deep with talent and they are very good and well disciplined against the run. You expect that from a Todd Bowles coached unit. We can also say, to be fair to McDaniel, the top two RBs on this roster didn’t play and the team’s top left tackle and center didn’t play either.
We can also say that whatever new system is being installed on offense, in the running game, apparently hasn’t trickled down into the depths of the offensive roster. To put it simply, the running game left a lot to be desired
Miami managed to lose yards for most of the first half and it wasn’t until Myles Gaskin broke a 20-yard run that it appeared to be working. Of course, his next three runs netted a total of six yards. The highlight of the evening was Skylar Thompson’s 21-yard scramble that also skews the stat lines which even factoring in his run still isn’t good.
Miami ran a total of 10 times during the game. That too was a big surprise given the anticipation that the Dolphins were transitioning to a more balanced offense. This could have been for several reasons. One, they wanted to get a real look at Skylar Thompson’s passing game and his decision-making. Two, they made no real plans to run the ball concentrating instead on pass protection against a good defensive scheme.
Regardless of the reasons, Miami managed a measly 49 yards on 14 carries. That is not what fans expected with Mike McDaniel coming to Miami.
Now, we need to look at this far more realistically. McDaniel ran the ball 14 times compared to the Buccaneers 31. The Dolphins were not playing from behind except for the 2nd quarter so this was clearly by design. The Dolphins simply didn’t have the intention of putting the running game on the field.
Clearly, there is a lot of work that needs to be done and yes, it is only the first preseason game, and yes two starting offensive linemen, the starting fullback, and both top running backs were not in the game but Miami was still playing against the 2nd team and 3rd team units of the Bucs defense as well. Overall, it wasn’t a good night for Miami’s running game.
I would have to believe, honestly, that McDaniel simply ran an extremely basic vanilla rushing attack on Saturday night. And on the other side of the ball, it isn’t like the Bucs lit it up either. They rushed 31 times for 88 yards.
NOTE: Head coach Mike McDaniel stated in his post game press conference that one of the reasons the running game didn’t work was that Tampa was set on stopping it.