Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Thomas: 'Nobody has leg up' for top tailback job


After letting Reggie Bush leave in free agency this offseason, the Miami Dolphins will have a new starting tailback in 2013.

Common perception is that second-year back Lamar Miller, who possesses a similar skillset to Bush, is the odds-on favorite to take the majority of the carries in the Dolphins' offense. (photo: June Rivera, Flickr)

But Daniel Thomas, Miami's most experienced running back, doesn't see why people think Miller has a leg up on the competition.

“I don’t know why [Miller] would have the inside track,” Thomas said, according to The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson. “It’s an open competition. Everybody has a fair shot."

The Dolphins' coaching staff is reportedly very high on Miller, who averaged 4.9 yards per carry in his rookie campaign in limited action. His speed and elusiveness project well in Miami's matchup-based offense, and these reasons are why Thomas is expected to be relegated to a situational or relief role.

But Thomas doesn't see it that way, and feels he can win the job.

"The best player is going to get the job," Thomas said. "Nobody has a leg up. I’m looking to be that guy. That’s why I put the work in.”

To be the best, he would need to show significant improvement from his first two seasons. Thomas has averaged just 3.5 yards per carry during his career and has just four touchdowns, all coming last season. In addition, his three fumbles on 91 carries in 2012 put him on thin ice with the turnover-conscious Dolphins coaching staff.

In his defense, the former Kansas State standout has had a myriad of injuries to deal with in his career that may have hampered his production. After undergoing a knee procedure in January, Thomas feels he'll be ready to finally become the player the Dolphins thought they were getting when they picked him in the second round of the 2011 draft.

“I wanted to get my legs back stronger [after the surgery],” Thomas, who has set personal goals of 1,500 yards in 2013 at 5 per carry, said. “I’ve been very inconsistent. I’ve had a lot of injures. This is the year I’ve got to put everything together. When I’m healthy and on top of my game, I feel like I can play with the best of them.”

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