The Miami Dolphins Curious Running Back Rotation
The start of the season has been disappointing for the Miami Dolphins with the teams 0-2 start and the play of their defense after investigating a lot of resources this offseason to upgrade the talent on that side of the football. On offense, one of the things that have been puzzling to me is the Miami Dolphins curious running back rotation.

The Dolphins signed free agent Jordan Howard to be their power runner and traded for Matt Breida to be the change of pace/big play-back. However after 2 games, neither has been on the field a lot. In week 1 against the New England Patriots, Howard started out the game but only carried it 8 times. Breida didn’t really see the field much if at all. On Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, Breida saw a little more action and outside of plays at the goalline Howard didn’t see any action. It begs the question why?
Second-year running back Myles Gaskin has been seeing more playing time than Howard and Breida combined. Head coach Brian Flores has praised Gaskin for his development from year 1 to year 2 and his work ethic in practice. In Flores’s short time with the team, he has always been big on working hard and performing at practice. If you do well in practice you will see more playing time. I like that philosophy players should get rewarded for putting in the time to work on their game and practicing hard. Gaskins has shown improvement in his game compared to his rookie season and its possible Howard and Breida aren’t doing well in practice.

It’s also possible they (Howard and Breida) aren’t picking up the offense as well as Gaskin. With there being no real offseason this year, it’s possible both players need a little more time. However, Gaskin is in the same boat as Howard and Breida with it being a new offensive system for everyone this year under Chan Gailey.
There is another possibility though. Flores comes from the Patriots and they typically use their running backs differently week to week. One week they use one back to carry the load and the next week they use another back to catch passes out of the backfield. I remember one year, the Patriots had a running back named Jonas Gray and he ran for over 200 yards in a game, but then he rarely saw the field in the following weeks for whatever the reason.

The thing with that theory is offensive coordinator Chan Gailey doesn’t come from the Patriots way. He has been around many places as an offensive coordinator and a head coach, but New England wasn’t one of them. When he was the offensive coordinator in 2000-2001, he used Lamar Smith as his workhorse running back giving him the ball 20-25 times a game. He also had third-down backs in Thurman Thomas, yes he was on the Dolphins even if he denies it, Autry Denson, and then Travis Minor. He did the same when he coached the Bills with Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller. This just seems a little different from him.

Maybe things will change with it only being 2 games into the season. The team might be trying to get a feel of what they have in Howard and Breida with an abbreviated offseason. Right now it’s just puzzling.