Dec/19/14 08:47 AM Filed in: Lamar Miller
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins (7-7) are on a path towards their sixth consecutive non-playoff season. But one player who is having a consistent season is starting tailback Lamar Miller.
Miami’s third-year tailback already set new career highs for rushing yards (829) and touchdowns (six) this season. Miller is just 171 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season, and that goal is within reach with two games remaining against the Minnesota Vikings (6-8) and New York Jets (3-11).
“You know, it would be great just to reach 1,000 yards,” Miller said. “I just have to continue to do what I do, come to work every day and try to get better.”
Miller has thrived in first-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor's new scheme. Miami’s spread, quick-hitting offense has allowed Miller to find more creases in the defense and make plays in open space, which are strengths.
This season Miller is doing a much better job of getting to the second level. He's run for a career-high 45 first downs, nearly doubling his previous career best of 26 first downs in 2013. Miller also increased his yards per carry from 4.0 last season to 4.7 this season.
“I think he’s made better decisions running the ball,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. “It’s not always perfect, like the quarterback is not perfect every single time in decision-making. He does a good job, and I think he's done a better job. Less shuffling, less dancing, more running.”
Although Miller has improved in several areas, he mentioned there are still things he must work on to become a complete running back. For example, Miller citied pass protection and catching out of the backfield. Taking on blockers has been a struggle for Miller throughout his career, and he's dropped a few passes this season.
But running is Miller's biggest priority and he's done it well. Perhaps what is most impressive is Miller is approaching 1,000 yards rushing without getting nearly as many carries as other feature tailbacks around the NFL. Miller only received more than 16 carries once in a game this season while constantly rotating with backups Damien Williams and Daniel Thomas. But Miller is making the most of his opportunities.
Miller needs to average 85.5 rushing yards in the final two weeks to reach the 1,000-yard milestone.
“Every time I get the ball, I try to make a big play for this team,” Miller said. “Once I get it, I just try to be decisive, make the right reads and use my vision.”