The battle of the Miami Dolphins running backs will be making their headlines over the next month as fans will eagerly wait to see who will be the team’s top back going into the 2020 NFL season.
Strengths, Weaknesses of Jordan Howard
Howard was signed in free agency and has been known to be a tough runner throughout his short NFL career. An example that jumps out in my mind immediately stems back from his short stint with the Chicago Bears in 2018.
He converted 23-of-31 third or fourth-down plays from two yards out or fewer. How many times last year did Miami have short yardage to go that it couldn’t convert. I don’t have the time to count.
Another one of Howard’s strengths is his ability to pass block for the quarterback to provide time in the pocket for him to hit an open wideout. Howard led all RBs in pass blocking in 2018.
While his strengths catch one’s eye, he does struggle in a few areas as well. Howard’s biggest glare is his ability to pass catch out of the backfield. While his numbers suggest that he has worked on that issue since entering the league, he only has one season as the apparent outlier.
After his rookie campaign his catch percentage sat at 58-percent, compared to what it was last season with the Philadelphia Eagles at 71.4-percent. However, Howard played less games last season than he did his rookie year, creating less opportunities.
Strengths, Weaknesses of Matt Breida
Breida was dealt in a NFL Draft-day trade and could help the Dolphins in pass catch situations, should the Dolphins elect to throw the ball his way. During his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers, Breida quickly established himself as a good back with good hands. Breida’s catching percentage numbers from the time he entered the league went from 58.3-percent during his rookie season to 86.4-percent just last season. HELLO!
Another talent Breida has is his speed. Breida said himself to be the fastest player in the league telling reporters that he reached up to 22.3 miles-per-hour in the 2019 season, so I hope that claim shows itself on some scoring plays in 2020.
However, what hurt Breida last season was him losing self confidence to do well as he struggled towards the back end of the season. We saw it in his lost fumbles which contributed to less and less playing time, especially after the emergence of Raheem Mostert.
The good news about the fumbling though? It’s will be a lot easier for Breida to build confidence with his new team that will almost abolish the fumbling issue then it will be for Howard say, to suddenly improve his pass-catching by 20-percent.
What Should the Dolphins Do?
The best results for the Dolphins would be to play both Howard and Breida as a one-two punch. Both players provide the team with strong capabilities of leading as the lead back, but head coach Brian Flores and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey could gain more success if they played the two together.
What’s the worst that could happen? They don’t mesh and work well together? Then a change can be made. While it’s a work in process, it’s not a long process.