By Abraham Gutierrez
With Knowshon Moreno on the mend with an elbow injury, the Miami Dolphins have signed former San Francisco 49ers running back, LaMichael James. The Fins scooped up the former second-round pick on Tuesday after he passed through wavers unclaimed, according to confirmed reports.
And while the Dolphins have yet to make a statement on James’ signing, his agent Jeff Sperbeck made the news public via his Twitter account. “Congrats to @LaMichaelJames for joining the @MiamiDolphins,” Sperbeck wrote on social media. “He knows the offense well. Great fit.”
James joins a very crowded backfield that includes Moreno, Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa. Nevertheless, all indications are that Miami might have acquired the Oregon standout to provide a boost to a special teams unit that’s left a lot to be desired through the first four games of the season.
In two injury-plagued seasons in the Bay Area, James recorded 23 punt returns for 251 yards (10.9 yards per return) and 26 kickoff returns for 738 yards (28.4 yards per return). He might be brought in to replace rookie Jarvis Landry, who’s lost two punts on fumbles at that position.
James was released by the Niners earlier this month and worked out with the Dolphins two weeks ago, along with other NFL teams. As a running back, the Oregon Ducks’ career rushing leader has tallied 184 yards on 41 carries as an NFL pro.
However, the 24-year-old from New Boston, Texas, has been unable to show his true potential due to his inability to stay on the field. As a rookie, James played in four games for Jim Harbaugh, rushing for 125 yards on 27 carries for an average of 4.6 yards per attempt.
Last season, he played in 10 games for San Francisco, tallying 59 yards on 12 attempts for an average of 4.9 yards per rush. This year, he played in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, where he was a non-factor with two rushes for no yards, before being placed on waivers.
James has also shown an ability to catch the football out of the backfield, with five receptions for 45 yards and no touchdowns in 15 games played. There’s no question that Miami can benefit tremendously from his versatility, but it’s clear that his skills would best be suited as a punt/kick returner.
Currently, the Dolphins’ rushing attack ranks sixth in the National Football League averaging an eye-popping 142.2 yards per contest. This is thanks in part to Miller’s efforts, which account for 277 yards on 49 carries and two touchdowns, as well as Moreno’s whale of an opener in which he registered 138 yards on 25 carries and a score.
Other backfield contributions include Williams and the recently re-signed Thomas, who have combined for 89 yards on 19 carries in Moreno’s absence. It’s going to be interesting to see when and how Joe Philbin utilizes James after the team returns from the bye week.
After a much needed week off, the Dolphins return to the field to host the surging Green Bay Packers in Week 6 at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. Miami is currently 2-2 on the year, which is good enough for a first-place tie with the Buffalo Bills atop the AFC East.
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. .