Miller, who confidently predicted before training camp he could rush for 1,500 yards this season, might still do just that. But he has yet to separate from Thomas and, in truth, has failed to win a job that was presumed to be his.
That’s a disappointment at this stage.
This job was Miller’s to lose. And he’s slowly doing just that. He has left the door open for Thomas and what didn’t seem like much of a competition at the beginning of camp has turned into one.
Miller has started every exhibition game and until Tuesday was taking a majority of the first-team snaps. But he had that fumble in the preseason opener and last Saturday against Houston dropped a pass on third down that caught Philbin’s attention.
“Obviously, Lamar has to catch the ball on third-and-2 when you’re wide open like that,” Philbin said. “That’s a play you have to make in that critical situation early in the ballgame. You want to start fast. I mean, they’ve both had a productive camp, [but] there are still plays to be made before the final decision.”
The good news is the final decision doesn’t necessarily have to come right away. Yes, it would be nice if either Miller or Thomas would claim to the job coming out of Saturday’s preseason game.
But if neither does that, the competition can probably continue the following week without disrupting anything because the Dolphins plan to use both players in the regular season regardless of which one takes the first snap from scrimmage.
Despite this apparent luxury, however, the question of which player actually starts is an important one for the parties involved.
It matters to the players …
“I mean, it does,” Thomas said. “Every guy wants to be that guy, the No. 1 guy. So it does.”
And it matters to Philbin …
“We want to reward the guys we feel earned positions on the football team,” he said. “So, obviously, it’s going to be important who the starter is.”