The Miami Dolphins saw the debut of their major free-agent pickup at running back Saturday against the Dallas Cowboys.
Knowshon Moreno, formerly the Denver Broncos' leading rusher, played in his first game with the Dolphins and led all rushers with 64 yards on 10 carries. Moreno is coming off knee surgery this summer and is trying to round into form before the regular season. There is some momentum in South Florida now to make Moreno the full-time starter over incumbent Lamar Miller.
With that said, ESPN.com’s Dolphins page reviewed the film of all 10 of Moreno's carries Saturday. Here is how Moreno graded on tape:
Carry No. 1: First quarter at the 8:34 mark
Analysis: On first-and-10, Moreno gets his first carry as a Dolphin and explodes up the right side for 19 yards. It was an impressive combination of vision and patience to see the opening. Rookie right tackle Ja'Wuan James and tight end Charles Clay both had good blocks on this run.
Carry No. 2: First quarter at the 7:56 mark
Analysis: Moreno carries the ball up the right side again. But right guard Shelley Smith misses his block, James fails to get any push, and Moreno is tackled in the backfield for minus-2 yards.
Carry No. 3: First quarter at the 7:21 mark
Analysis: Moreno gets his third consecutive carry as Miami’s coaching staff appears to be making up for lost time. This time Moreno runs up the middle, but cuts left to the opening behind left tackle Branden Albert. He goes about two yards untouched but finishes strong by lowering his shoulder and picks up four yards.
Carry No. 4: First quarter at the 2:20 mark
Analysis: Moreno continues his success to the right side. He patiently waits for James to get his block on the linebacker and runs through the hole for 11 yards. Moreno displays good vision, which is hard to teach.
Carry No. 5: First quarter at the 1:15 mark
Analysis: Moreno runs a read-option play on the left side and runs through two arm tackles. He also gets help from James, who had a pancake block on the final push for eight yards.
Carry No. 6: Second quarter at 14:30 mark
Analysis: Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill hands the ball to Moreno up the middle. But a linebacker blitz catches Moreno at the line of scrimmage for no gain.
Carry No. 7: Second quarter at 8:28 mark
Analysis: Moreno makes a routine run up the middle. He’s tackled by the unblocked defensive end for four yards.
Carry No. 8: Second quarter at the 7:57 mark
Analysis: Moreno makes another routine run and falls forward for three yards. The offensive line doesn’t get much push on the play.
Carry No. 9: Second quarter at 6:35 mark
Analysis: Moreno receives a handoff from the shotgun formation to his right. He spins away from a tackler and gains an extra five yards for a total of nine yards.
Carry No. 10: Second quarter at 5:20 mark
Analysis: Moreno lines up behind tight end Dion Sims, who was playing fullback/H-back. He takes the carry left, hops over a would-be tackler, then accelerates for 7 yards. Moreno shows impressive agility and strength on that run.
Final grade: +12
Moreno showed a nice array of skills in his Miami debut. Most importantly, he didn’t have many minus plays, which is key for a running back. Despite a small sample size, Moreno certainly gave Miami’s coaches something to think about with the tailback depth chart. Moreno is the more complete running back compared to Miller. But the Dolphins have to decide if one preseason game is enough to insert Moreno as the starter.