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On Monday, Miami added another running back to a suddenly crowded backfield when it was reported they had agreed to terms with the former New England Patriots’ first-round pick Sony Michel. Michel is a different style runner than Mostert and Edmonds, who were signed earlier in free agency, in that he’s not someone who is going to blow anyone away with his speed (he ran a 4.58 coming out of college). He’s also not as big of a weapon in the receiving game, only having 47 career receptions over his four-year career, and nearly half of them (21) came last year with the Los Angeles Rams.

The hope here is that Michel can be the short-yardage back to start the season, lined up behind full-back Alec Ingold to help make up for his poor yards after a contact rate of 2.3 throughout his career. Another bonus with Michel is his pass-blocking to help protect Tua. Coming out of college, Michel had a pass-block efficiency of 96.9 in 2017, according to PFF.

Every time Miami’s offseason is brought up in the last few weeks, there is a constant theme of “speed” that is talked about, and rightfully so. The media will talk about the Michel signing briefly, if at all, and will further the conversation that Miami has given Tua all the tools to succeed.

Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert, Chase Edmonds, and Cedrick Wilson will bring a ton of speed to an offense that already had Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki, and Lynn Bowden Jr. As exciting as all that speed is and as electric as the offense can and should be, I’ve noticed one particular signing that is constantly overlooked: fullback Alec Ingold.

Ingold suffered a season-ending ACL tear midway through the season last year. But before the injury, Ingold was regarded as one of the best running backs in the game, behind 49ers Kyle Jusczyk. Back in 2020, Ingold was rated as the best receiving fullback in the NFL according to PFF, which will cause more confusion for defenses when he’s on the field because it doesn’t guarantee a run play. But it is what he does in the run game that is what excites me the most. Miami’s run game has been below-average at best the last few years, and Alec Ingold will go a long way in helping improve that along with helping the team pick up 3rdand 4th short-yardage situations that the team has struggled with in recent years.

To be a truly great offense, you need to have a great passing attack, but you also need to be successful running the football when everyone knows you’re going to run the football. That hasn’t been the case for Miami in the last couple of years, despite an offensive line that wasn’t terrible in run blocking. Last year alone, the inability to convert in those situations cost Miami a playoff spot.

Week 6 against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, with the score tied 20-20 and 1:49 left in the 4th quarter, Miami attempted a run to convert a 4th & 1 from their own 47 to set up a game-winning field goal potentially. Lined up in shotgun (for some reason), Malcolm Brown was unable to convert the 1st down, and in turn, the Jaguars took over on downs and kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired themselves to get their first win of the season and hand Miami their 5th consecutive loss.

A couple of weeks earlier, week three vs. the Las Vegas Raiders, Miami lined up in shotgun on their own 1-yard line on 1st down, up 14-0 near the end of the 1stquarter and ran a screen in their own endzone resulting in a safety and shifting the momentum in the game. As bad as a play call, it may have been called a result of the team’s inability to run the ball successfully, with the defense knowing they needed to run.

Later in the game, down 25-17 with 4:30 left in the 4th quarter, Jacoby Brissett failed on a quarterback sneak attempt on 4th down on the Las Vegas 42, turning the ball over. Fortunately, Miami’s defense could get the ball back, and Miami scored to get it to overtime before losing, but it’s impossible to know what could have been had Miami been able to convert that 4th down and score on that drive.

As exciting as the Tyreek Hill trade, the Mostert, Edmonds, Wilson, and Michel signings are for this offense that has lacked weapons recently. Fullback Alec Ingold is the player that is being overlooked but can be just as impactful. There are a number of occasions where Miami failed on 3rd or 4th and short or was limited in their play-calling because of their lack of a running game.

Last year Jacoby Brissett would come in on those situations to run a QB sneak or throw the occasional deep ball to catch the defense napping. But having a legitimate fullback like Alec Ingold will allow Tua to stay on the field and give the Miami offense an advantage in a situation where the defense usually has the advantage. On 3rd or 4th and short, with Ingold lined up at fullback, the team can run the ball confidently, can run a play-action pass to hit Hill, Waddle, or Gesicki for a big play, or can have Ingold swing out in the flat to catch a pass and convert himself.