In the Miami Dolphins 2022 season they moved the ball as well as any team in the NFL as they picked up over 6,000 yards. The issue, is 77% of their offense came through the air.
They were 26th in rushing yards last year, barely eclipsing 1,600 yards on the ground. With Mike McDaniel previously being the run game coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, a team with one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL, it was disappointing when the Dolphins could not get it going on the ground.
To be fair, the offensive line in Miami is not great, but the running backs on the roster were capable. Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. were both good averaging just under five yards per carry. The other running backs struggled though.
Mostert and Wilson Jr. are back this year and the Dolphins drafted Devon Achane in the third round of the draft. This is where it gets interesting.
There is no doubt that Wilson Jr. and Mostert will get the bulk of the carries early on in the season, but teams do not draft running backs in the third round just for them to play on third down.
Mostert has played in the NFL for eight years and Wilson Jr. has played five years. Those are both decent amounts of time for running backs in the NFL. Achane will have to carry the ball this year.
The zone running scheme in Miami is different from the scheme at Texas A&M that Achane ran behind for three years. It is going to take some time for Achane to adjust.
Here is what Dolphins should expect in terms of carries throughout the season. For the first six weeks of the season Wilson Jr. and Mostert will get 90% of the carries. We will see Achane’s impact on third down mostly.
He will make plays after the catch with his speed, and he will force linebackers not to sink too quickly allowing Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill to make plays over the middle of the field.
Weeks seven through 12 we will begin to see Achane play more on first and second down. Mostert’s and Wilson Jr.’s carries will be lessened because of that.
Then, weeks 13-18 Achane will be the starter. He and Wilson Jr. will get the majority of the carries and Mostert will be the home run hitter like he was in San Francisco.
The development of Achane throughout the season is vital to the Dolphins’ success this upcoming season.
The two keys to the Dolphins taking the next step and competing for a Super Bowl is first, Tua Tagovailoa staying healthy. Second, the run game has to be more consistent. Achane should be a big part of solving that problem.