The Miami Dolphins haven’t had a consistent running back in quite some time now. The team traded away what many felt could’ve been a successful starter for years to come in Kenyan Drake, and have struggled ever since.
After going through eight RBs on the roster in 2019 and thinking its best option was RB Kalen Ballage, Miami made a splash in the offseason for two veterans, but have yet to really use them in 2020. So who does that leave in the backfield for the Dolphins?
Second-Year Back Myles Gaskin Leading the Charge
Miami has three running backs that have seen the field more consistently than the others this season: Myles Gaskin, the second-year back drafted by the team, as well as Jordan Howard and Matt Brieda, both acquired this past offseason. Brieda was acquired via a trade with the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the No. 153 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Howard was acquired during free agency and signed a two-year, $10 million dollar deal.
Through the first four games of the season, none of the three are exactly carrying the team to victories. However, Gaskin is leading the way with carries and yardage. Thus far, Gaskin has carried the ball 48 times for 192 rushing yards, and caught the ball 18 times for another 113 receiving yards.
“He (Gaskin) took this past offseason and really trained and got his body fit for an NFL season after having been through one,” Miami head coach Brian Flores said. “He felt like he needed to make some changes and he made them. Then he came to training camp and he was very consistent throughout training camp.”
Matt Breida, Jordan Howard: Not the Roles Most Were Expecting So Far
Meanwhile, Brieda and Howard both only have 18 combined carries: Brieda for 72 yards and Howard for 14 yards. Brieda has caught the ball four times for 41 yards on the season as well. Howard on the other hand, has only caught the ball once on the season for negative three yards. Despite Howard’s lack of yardage production, he is the only running back on the team that has made it into the end zone, with three touchdowns so far this season. This can’t be how fans envisioned Miami using the talented veteran who are likely hoping he turns into something other than a goal-line back soon.
Through the first four games of the season, Gaskin has been the most productive out of the running back position for the Dolphins, but there’s still 12 games to go before we even talk playoffs. That’s plenty of time for someone else to steal the spotlight and become the team’s starting back.
Breida, Howard: Still Getting Used to Miami System?
It’s likely safe to say that Breida and Howard are still getting used to Flores’ system as there was no preseason or the normal amount of offseason workouts due to COVID-19. However, it’s getting to the point where they need to gel together more to help Miami’s ground game.
Against a beat up 49ers team on Sunday, the Dolphins might be able to use their run game to their advantage. Especially because Breida is facing off against his former team. While Breida has said during multiple media availabilities this season he likes his new landing spot, an ounce of every player wants some sort of revenge against a team that trades them. Will that be on tap on Sunday? It’s a careful balance currently on whether to roll the dice or have Flores continuing to run his game plan and name a starter when the team has got more of some kind of winning chemistry.
“I think you saw a lot of improvement (from) a year ago. I’d walk into the bubble and they’d be off in the corner with bands and just trying to get better. He’s (Gaskin) spent a lot of time with (Running Backs Coach) Eric (Studesville). I think Eric has done a good job with him as far as getting the mental side of the game down,” Flores said.