Former NFL GM Believes Miami Dolphins Need to Improve Running Game to Succeed in 2020

Jordan Howard and Matt Breida

There’s no doubt that the running game hindered the Miami Dolphins in the 2019 season.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick led the team in rushing, and no running back gained over 201 yards on the ground.

The team addressed the need this offseason by signing Jordan Howard and trading for Matt Breida, two moves that should ensure the quarterback doesn’t lead the team in rushing this season.

Still, former NFL general manager Mike Lombardi is skeptical of the Dolphins’ ground game in 2020.

In an article for The Athletic, Lombardi listed his obvious and non-obvious questions for each team. For Miami, the obvious question surrounded its running game.

“Last year no one would guess, but Ryan Fitzpatrick was the Dolphins’ leading rusher with 54 rushing attempts, gaining 243 yards,” Lombardi wrote. “He also led the team in touchdown runs with four. They ranked last in the NFL in rushing yards, with 72.3 per game. Miami needs a running game to help their offense in 2020.”

Lombardi is correct in his assessment, but adding Howard and Breida should alleviate those issues.

Howard had 525 rushing yards and six touchdowns – both would’ve led the Dolphins – in 10 games for the Philadelphia Eagles last season.

Breida rushed for 623 yards and a touchdown in 13 games for the San Francisco 49ers.

Perhaps what is more important is that they both played in shared backfields, which is what they will do in Miami. Howard played with Miles Sanders, while Breida rotated with Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman.

For the non-obvious question, Lombardi noted the Dolphins’ poor defense in the middle eight minutes of the game.

“Miami ranked 32nd in preventing scoring at the end of the first half, allowing 96 points,” Lombardi said. “And they ranked 30th overall in allowing 56 points on the first drive of the second half. In total, the Fins allowed 152 points in the middle eight.”

Similar to the running back issue, Miami also shored up its defense this offseason.

Established veterans Byron Jones, Kyle Van Noy, Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah should help solve that problem.

If these are the Dolphins’ two biggest questions entering 2020, they are in good shape.

General manger Chris Grier did a fine job identifying and solidifying Miami’s weaknesses this spring.