By Abraham Gutierrez
As the (1-1) Miami Dolphins and (0-2) Kansas City Chiefs get set for their Week 3 showdown Sunday in South Florida, the running back position will be a little thin in both teams’ depth charts. Injuries to first-stringers Knowshon Moreno and Jamaal Charles will force Joe Philbin and Andy Reid to need all hands on deck in a crucial game of the young 2014 NFL season.
For Miami, Moreno had Fins fans buzzing heading into Week 2 as the NFL’s leading rusher with 134 yards on 24 carries. However, his early success was short-lived, as the former Georgia Bulldog suffered a gruesome elbow injury during his first carry in the Dolphins’ 29-10 loss at Buffalo.
While the extent of Moreno’s injury has yet to be made public, all indications are that he will miss at least a month with a dislocated elbow. Thus, the organization was forced to go out and sign free agent running back Daniel Thomas to help carry the load.
On Monday, Philbin announced that the former second-round pick would rejoin the team after being released in Miami’s 53-man roster cut last August. To make room for him in the roster, the team placed Sammy Seamster on injured reserve.
Thomas will join Lamar Miller, Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa in the Dolphins’ backfield this week against the Chiefs defense. The 26-year-old from Hilliard, Fla., has registered 1,312 yards on 365 carries and eight touchdowns during his NFL tenure.
With 42 receptions and three scores to his credit, Thomas could also prove to be a valuable check-down target for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. It’s going to be very interesting to see how many touches he will get considering Miller comes into Week 3 a little banged up.
For Kansas City, Charles’ absence could be a huge blow for the Chiefs’ playoff hopes, but everything will depend on the extent of his injury. Much like in Moreno’s case, the three-time Pro Bowler was knocked out of Sunday’s game in the early going and was unable to return.
On Monday, coach Reid revealed that while Charles’ high ankle injury didn’t “look to be a real severe one,” he would likely miss a few weeks. Unlike in the case of the Dolphins, the Chiefs have enough depth at the running back position that they didn’t have to go out and sign any additional players.
Instead, it appears that Knile Davis, Cyrus Gray, Joe McKnight and De’Anthony Thomas will be splitting KC’s touches out of the backfield versus Miami’s defense. How much of a void is Charles’ injury to Kansas City’s offense?
Last year, the 27-year-old from Port Arthur, Texas, was not only the team’s leading rusher, but he also led the way in receptions. On the ground, he was a monster, who ranked among the leagues best with 1,287 yards on 259 carries and 12 touchdowns.
Giving Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith a reliable check-down option, Charles was just as lethal with his hands, tallying 70 receptions for 693 yards and an additional seven scores.
Opening kickoff for the Chiefs vs. Dolphins Week 3 game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., is scheduled for 4:25 pm ET and it will be broadcast live on CBS Sports (Miami CBS-4).
For more Dolphins news and updates, visit Dolphins Central.
Abe Gutierrez is a criminal justice admin whose love for sports led him to become a writer and editor. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com and its partners. His work can be found on Examiner.com. .