Dolphins running backs have a lot to prove

DAVIE, Fla. -- The highest one-season total of any tailback on the Miami Dolphins’ roster is 581 rushing yards by Daniel Thomas in 2011.

It's safe to say Miami’s running backs have something to prove this year.

The Dolphins spent a lot of money and resources in the draft and free agency on various areas of the team. But one position that went mostly ignored was running back. Miami lost former leading rusher Reggie Bush, who amassed more than 2,000 rushing yards the past two seasons, and will look to fill that production with Lamar Miller, Thomas and rookie fifth-round pick Mike Gillislee.

Miami’s running backs are young, inexperienced and don't have much proven production at the NFL level. It’s easy to see why critics have doubts about this group.

“It just pushes you more,” Miller said after Monday’s organized team activities. “It’s a motivation just to show the guys who doubt you. You just try to take your game to the next level to show them what you’re capable of doing.”

The Dolphins enter this season with playoff aspirations, but that won’t happen unless they can successfully run the football.

Miami was 17th in rushing last season when Bush led the team with 986 yards and six touchdowns. The Dolphins are expected to pass more this season with improvements made at wide receiver (Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson) and tight end (Dustin Keller). But it’s still up to Miami’s young running backs to take advantage of their opportunities and keep defenses honest.

“It’s a good group,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said of his running backs. “We were just talking about that when we were watching film as an offensive staff, they have different skill traits and dimensions physically and those type of things. I like the way they are working number one. That is the most important thing.”