Reggie Bush revitalized his career last season in Miami. He ran for over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career and effectively proved he could be an every down back.
His second year in Miami has not been as productive. A leg injury in Week 3 seemed to hamper his performance for a few games, though Bush denied that claim. Meanwhile, second-year back Daniel Thomas has been stealing carries from Reggie Bush on a regular basis.
And I'm not sure why.
Reggie Bush has 165 carries for 726 yards this season. He's averaging 4.4 YPC. Daniel Thomas has over half that amount of carries (88) for 316 yards and an average of 3.6 per attempt. You could argue that 3.6 YPC isn't that bad, but 4.4 YPC is better.
Simply put, Reggie Bush is the better running back.
Yet Miami continues to take the ball out of his hands and give it to Daniel Thomas.
On more than one occasion this season Bush has been sidelined in favor of Daniel Thomas. In the Week 8 game in which Miami dominated the Jets, Bush had one fewer carry (14) than Thomas (15) despite Bush's average being considerably higher (4.2 compared to Thomas' 2.8). Obviously this had little impact on the outcome of the game, but it bristled nonetheless.
Then we have the infamous Reggie Bush benching of Week 10. Bush fumbled the ball in the opening quarter and was benched for basically the rest of the game. Daniel Thomas was his replacement, running for a paltry 21 yards on five attempts. Conceding that Miami's offense generally stunk it up in that game, this is still poor production.
And so I ask: why does Daniel Thomas continue to take carries away from Reggie Bush?
This is Thomas' second year in the NFL, and since entering the league last year he has shown little signs of explosiveness. Never mind the fact that he's battled with concussion problems that have caused him to miss a few games.
Reggie Bush is Miami's biggest playmaker right now. He should get the ball at least 20 times a game. But with Daniel Thomas inexplicably pinching carries, Bush is being wrongfully limited.
It gets scarier when you consider this: Reggie Bush's contract is up after this season. According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, it is currently appearing unlikely that the Dolphins are interested in inking a new deal.
Unless the Dolphins make a move in free agency or the draft to replace Bush (in the event that he leaves, of course), it will be Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller taking over at running back next season.
Which raises another, perhaps more important question: where has Lamar Miller been?
Last season with the Miami Hurricanes, Lamar Miller notched 1,272 yards on 227 carries and nine touchdowns. He averaged a wonderful 5.6 YPC. Miller possesses the kind of talent that threatens to unleash every time he gets the ball.
He showed flashes of that talent in the couple of games he played early in the season, but since then he's mostly been inactive. Even when he has been activated, as he was for Sunday's game against New England, he hasn't seen the field.
If the Dolphins are going to continue to take carries away from Bush for the remainder of the season, they should at least be giving those carries to Lamar Miller. This rings especially true if Miami doesn't bring back Reggie Bush for next year. They'll need a more developed Lamar Miller to share carries with Daniel Thomas.
Regardless, as it currently stands, the Miami Dolphins are misusing their running backs.
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