Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While quarterback has been the focus of much of the attention in the first week of training camp for the Miami Dolphins, the running backs could turn out to be the best thing to happen to the quarterbacks.
The Dolphins return a potent one-two punch with 1,000-yard rusher Reggie Bush and second-year man Daniel Thomas. Bush was a revelation last year as he began to successfully run between the tackles and was the Fins’ top offensive weapon finishing the season with 1,086 yards rushing and a 5.0 yards per carry average.
“I like where I’m at with this offense. I like the style of offense we have,” Bush said. “I like our toughness, the way we run the ball, throw the ball, pass protect. I think we’re in a good spot right now and I think tomorrow will be a good test for us to see what we do pretty well right now and what we need to get better at.”
Bush’s production was nearly double his next highest yards in a season. His position on the team as the starting running back isn’t in question. Behind Bush is a set of runners who are young, hungry, and in one case very fast.
Bush’s primary backup last season was Thomas. The rookie rushed for 581 yards last season, but managed just 3.5 yards per carry. Thomas has a unique skills set and was predicted before last season to be the Fins’ power back. Bush’s success cut down on Thomas’ carries, but in the NFL two backs are mandatory.
The player who could be the lightning in a bottle the Fins need both offensively and in special teams is rookie Lamar Miller. The former University of Miami Hurricane standout rushed for 1,272 yards for the Canes last season and is making a mark on training camp already.
Miller is likely to land the primary kick return duties thanks to his playmaking ability. Where Miller could be additionally intriguing is as a single-back if Bush is sent out as a receiver. He’s been impressing coaches at camp thus far and if he continues to improve as a pass protector, the sky is the limit.
“He doesn’t have all the answers at running back, I’m not saying that, but I think we know he can run the ball,” Fins head coach Joe Philbin said.
If the right side of the Dolphins offensive line can gel as well as the left side has; the Dolphins running game should be just fine in 2012, which will make offensive coordinator Mike Sherman’s job immensely easier.
“I think Sherman does a great job. He’s obviously been around football for a long time,” Bush said. “I think everybody knows he’s a good play caller and kind of an offensive guru. So far, I think he’s doing a great job at the way he’s teaching us and the way he’s giving us the plays and I think he’s doing a great job.”