This is a good signing for the Texans as Miller is a talented all-around back who has finished in the top 10 in back-to-back seasons despite being underutilized in Miami. The Texans should give him plenty of work, but keep an eye on the offensive line. If it comes together, Miller should see enough work to finish in the top 10 for a third straight season.
The sticking point: How much are the Dolphins willing to spend?
Industry insiders estimate Miller, who averaged 893 yards, six touchdowns and 4.6 yards per attempt from 2013-2015, will command a contract that pays roughly $5 million a year. That would put him at the top of the second tier of NFL running backs, which seems reasonable, considering he’s got a clean medical history and is one of the league’s most efficient runners.
The Dolphins should have the salary cap space to make it happen.
From a value standpoint, Miami might be the best landing spot for Miller, since the fantasy community generally believes that he'll once again be underutilized. But Adam Gase is in as the new head coach, and he's not afraid to lean on a productive running back if the situation calls for it.
"Fit [is most important]," Miller said. "How the team is going to use me to my skill set."
Miami’s leading rusher wants to play for a team -- whether Miami or elsewhere -- where he's good for the scheme and can get consistent opportunities.
Miller entered the year with big goals heading into a contract year. He said Monday that he wanted 1,000 rushing yards and to average 5.0 yards per carry or more. Miller didn’t reach either of those goals. He finished with 872 rushing yards and 4.5 yards per carry, the story said. However, Miller wasn't always happy with how the team would use him, often going away from him at certain times.
Friday, December 25, 2015, 10:17pm
Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (quadricep, ankle, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 16. The probable tag indicates that Miller should be able to handle a normal RB1 workload, but his touches were scaled back last week (post-injury) in favor of Jay Ajayi. He’s a good start against the Colts, provided the Dolphins use him appropriately.
Thursday, December 24, 2015, 6:12pm
Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (quadricep, ankle) took limited practice reps again Thursday. Miller should be able to play through the injuries, but his workload was scaled back last week in favor of Jay Ajayi.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015, 6:11pm
Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (quadricep) took limited practice reps Wednesday. Miller took a backseat to Jay Ajayi after injuring his quad last week. This leaves him in an uncertain position workload-wise heading into a nice matchup against the Colts.
After the Dolphins lost to the Giants in Week 14, running back Lamar Miller expressed his feeling that he should continue to get the ball if he’s doing well when asked about getting five second half carries despite running well in the first two quarters.
Miller was back on the bench in the second half of Sunday’s loss to the Chargers, carrying twice for one yard while the Dolphins opted to go with Jay Ajayi and Damien Williams instead of Miller. Miller wasn’t as effective in the first half as he’d been the previous week, but still felt frustrated that he wasn’t part of the offense after halftime.
“I mean, yeah, because I feel like I could help this team win,” Miller said, via the Palm Beach Post. “You know, I’m pretty sure everybody wanted to be on the field competing with their teammates and … I don’t know.”
The Dolphins were down big in San Diego, leading them to pass more in the second half but Miller’s been their most productive receiver out of the backfield in addition to leading the team in rushing.
Friday, December 18, 2015, 6:32pm
Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (ankle, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 15. Miller will be fine to face San Diego’s leaky run defense. Despite sometimes ponderous usage, Miller is the #4 RB in standard formats. Jay Ajayi would be a Sneaky Start if Miller is ruled out for Week 15. The Dolphins play late on Sunday.
Thursday, December 17, 2015, 6:06pm
Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (ankle) took limited practice reps again Thursday. Miller should be fine to face San Diego’s leaky run defense. Despite sometimes ponderous usage, Miller is the #4 RB in standard formats. Jay Ajayi would be a Sneaky Start if Miller is ruled out for Week 15. The Dolphins play late on Sunday.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015, 6:21pm
Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (ankle) took limited practice reps Wednesday. Miller should be fine to face San Diego’s leaky run defense. Despite sometimes ponderous usage, Miller is the #4 RB in standard formats.
That contradicts Miller, who said after the game his right ankle was fine.
“This is the first that I’ve heard of, that he was OK to go in the second (half),” Campbell said. “If that’s what he told you guys…I knew that he wasn’t in there for a spell because I saw him limp off the field.
“So at that point I was just trying to manage the game.”
Miller, who ended with 12 carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns, left the game after his two-yard carry in the fourth quarter. He limped off the field and sat on the trainer’s table on the sideline where his right ankle got medical attention. Miller didn't get another carry.
Campbell has recently harped on running the ball, especially under play-caller/quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, who replaced fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor two games ago. But the Dolphins, who rushed for 128 yards on 22 carries, seemed to abandon the run in the fourth quarter Monday. Campbell said it was first because of Miller’s injury, and then because of the game situation.
Lamar Miller is as soft-spoken as they come on the Dolphins. So back when he kept saying he wanted to be known as a complete back, it was easy to assume he was referring to polishing his inside running, which had been the knock on his game.
Yes, Miller is a far better inside runner than he was as a rookie in 2012, but that improvement may be surpassed by the leaps in his receiving skills. Never mind the statistics, which shout out he’s on a receiving roll entering Sunday’s game against the visiting Dallas Cowboys.
Miller the running back has become Miller the wide receiver in many of the four-wide sets. That’s ahead of veteran Greg Jennings and first-round pick DeVante Parker. Miller said on many days, he stays after practices and catches 50 to 60 balls fired from the machine. In games, he’s not dropping passes. He’s catching them in the flat, on the sidelines, even over his shoulder. With Jay Ajayi possibly stealing some carries, it could give Miller more chances in the passing game.
Miami had a field day on the ground, rushing 32 times for 180 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-10 win against Tennessee. Lamar Miller finally got the number of carries he wanted, running 19 times for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Interim coach Dan Campbell — who sure sounds honest when he speaks — said he wasn’t making the calls.
“I let (Bill Lazor) run what he wants to run,” Campbell said. “I let (defensive coordinator) Lou (Anarumo) do what he wants to do. Every once in a while I may have an idea and I’ll give them my idea or my opinion on something, but I let them handle it. The last thing they need is me looking over their shoulder. But certainly if I have something to say, I’ll say it to them.”
Lazor has stressed the need for a balanced offense since he arrived in Miami last season. He was quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia in 2013 when the Eagles had one of the league’s most potent offenses and a balanced attack that featured running back LeSean McCoy.
Before that, Lazor was offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia — a school that was among the ACC’s worst running teams when he arrived and became one of the best at running the ball.
This all bodes well for Lamar Miller, who was the #9 RB in both formats in 2014 despite only averaging 15.9 touches per game. Miller had 21 touches for 118 yards and a touchdown against the Titans last week. And it wasn't game flow that allowed Miller to see that many touches -- he had 16 "looks" (carries plus targets) before halftime.
Expect more Jonas Gray on Sunday when the Dolphins play in Tennessee. Expect more DeVante Parker (and less Greg Jennings), too, as the Dolphins looks to shake things up beyond just the call to animal-ism that Dan Campbell is understandably making.
It’s time for Parker to see the field more. He was the No. 1 draft pick for a reason, and his size and athleticism are needed on an offense that’s having trouble getting into the end zone. He has just four catches for 49 yards.
Gray is a more physical back than what the Dolphins have. He has just 10 carries for 49 yards (4.9 average) this year. Lamar Miller has 37 carries for 131 yards (3.5 average). Damien Williams has five carries for 22 yards (4.4 average).
Miller should get an opportunity to run the ball, but this call for more Gray is a bit worrisome. Miller averaged 5.1 YPC last year, but is only generating 3.5 YPC this season. Did he suddenly forget how to run or are there larger issues with the offensive line and/or commitment to the running game? We're betting on the latter. As for Parker, he's worth a stash on the news that he should see more snaps ahead of Jennings.
Miller has been a fantasy disappointment this year, largely due to a lack of touches. He was the #9 fantasy back in both PPR and standard formats while averaging 15.9 touches per game. This year, he's only getting 11.8 touches per game. His YPC is down, which will generally lead to fewer touches, but that's a pretty steep decline. The Titans are yielding 4.4 YPC on the season, so there is opportunity for Miller to shine in Week 6.
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