Dolphins Encouraged By Play Of Running Backs
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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins hit the practice field for the final time on Wednesday before heading up to Atlanta for their preseason opener against the Falcons.
The big story out of Dolphins camp was the return of Knowshon Moreno. He was activated off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and participated in his first training camp practice.
It’s unlikely that Moreno plays on Friday against Atlanta, but Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin isn’t completely ruling it out.
“It is still too early to tell,” Philbin said following Wednesday’s practice. “This was his first practice out here today, so I don’t know if it would be a wise coaching decision for guy that really hasn’t participated to throw in him a game yet.”
There is no reason for the Dolphins to rush Moreno into action at this point. While he dressed in full pads and practiced with the team for the first time since minicamps, he only took part in individual drills.
With over a month to go before Miami’s regular season opener against the New England Patriots, Moreno knows that the main thing to concentrate on is being ready to go for Week 1.
“Today we were just testing [my knee] out and seeing how it feels,” said Moreno. “What I did today, I felt pretty good doing it. Now, in the next couple of days I’ll just progress and do more and more each day.”
Moreno joins a running back unit that has been playing very well throughout camp and has players and coaches very optimistic for the upcoming season.
Incumbent starter Lamar Miller has excelled in new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s up-tempo scheme. He and Moreno should provide the Dolphins an excellent one-two punch out of the backfield.
When Moreno signed with the Dolphins in March, many believed he was being brought to Miami to replace Miller as the starting tailback.
Things have since changed as Moreno’s injury allowed Miller to take all the first team reps during training camp. Though Miller is undoubtedly ahead of Moreno at this time, it doesn’t mean that either one is worried about who is on top of the depth chart.
“I’m just going to come out here and work,” Moreno said. “I can’t really think about the depth chart and things like that. Wherever the coaches want me to be, that’s where I’ll be. I just want to come out here and work.”
Aside from Moreno and Miller, several of the Dolphins running backs have been playing well during training camp.
Second year back Mike Gillislee and rookie Damien Williams have been turning heads the past several days and are both making a case to make the Dolphins final 53-man roster.
Gillislee barely saw the field during the 2013 season but has looked increasingly good since Miami started practicing with pads on.
Williams, an undrafted rookie out of Oklahoma, has received more reps with Daniel Thomas nursing a hamstring injury and is making the most of them.
It will be interesting to see who steps up during the preseason because this has the making of a very intriguing roster battle.
Overall, the Dolphins stable of running backs is as good as it’s been in a long time and while it’s way too early to say who has a leg up on the other, the coaching staff acknowledges the upgrade.
“The only thing I can tell you right now is that it’s looked better in training camp so far than I remember it looking in prior training camps,” said Philbin. “Obviously, we haven’t seen it in a game yet, but I liked what I’ve seen. That’s really what gives me confidence right now.”
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