Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rookie Thomas a positive despite Dolphins' bad start, Sparano says RB has work to do

In the midst of the Miami Dolphins’ second loss in two tries, there was a 100-plus-yard rushing performance by rookie Daniel Thomas.

Thomas gained 107 yards on 18 carries in the team’s 23-13 loss to the Houston Texans Sunday. He also caught one ball for 10 yards.

The first-year tailback’s day wasn’t perfect – he fumbled the ball in a critical spot and made a few errors in the backfield – but his non-hesitant style of running and ability to consistently churn out yardage was an obvious point of optimism for Miami.

“A lot of positives. Daniel ran the ball extremely well, really did. I thought ran the ball hard in between the tackles,” Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said during his Monday press conference. “But there is a lot of things off of Daniel’s performance that you guys wouldn’t see that we see that Daniel needs to get better at.”

Ball security is one of those things, and he later said the backfield was partially responsible for quarterback Chad Henne’s frequency in getting hit.

“Obviously we put the ball on the ground once,” Sparano said. “You need to take care of it. It’s a 13-yard run in a critical situation of the game. The ball ends up on the ground, the kid makes a good run, kid puts his facemask right on the ball and just…it happens.

“But Daniel is going to tell you he needs to take care of that. And then there is a couple other things there that he needs to do a little better. All that being said where this guy was a week ago; he didn’t play in the game. I saw a pretty good runner out there at times last night.”

Thomas currently ranks second in career rushing yards at Kansas State, where he picked up 2,850 yards in just two years of play. He signed a four-year contract with Miami after being drafted 62nd overall in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft.

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