Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said the decision to start Lamar Miller over Daniel Thomas in Sunday’s season opener was “the starting point, really,” and that both backs had a strong preseason.
“I think they’ve improved, both of them, and we definitely need those guys to perform well for us,” Philbin added. “I think [Miller] played well. I think he caught the ball well, ran the ball well. I thought Daniel did as well. It’s very, very close.”
The Dolphins announced the move late Monday with the release of their first depth chart of the regular season.
While Philbin saw the two backs as neck-and-neck, the preseason stats told a different story. In five games, Miller had more yards (72 to 52), more touchdowns (1 to 0) and a better yards-per-carry average (4.2 to 2.7) than Thomas.
Thomas said that the first he had heard of the decision was when reporters told him about it Tuesday.
“It’s cool,” Thomas added. “We’re all going to get pretty much the same amount of reps. It’s not a problem.”
Thomas, a third-year rusher out of Kansas State, expects he and Miller will share the work load the way he and Reggie Bush did in 2012. Bush had 227 carries last year; Thomas had 91.
“I don’t want to say there’s no pressure at all,” Miller said. “It’s just more excitement, knowing I’d be getting an opportunity to help this team win.”
RARE TUESDAY WORKOUT
Tuesdays are usually off days for players, but not this week. Philbin decided to work Monday through Wednesday, take off Thursday and then return for final preparations Friday.
The Dolphins haven’t announced if this is a one-week switch or a permanent change in plans.
When asked it felt strange working on a Tuesday, guard Richie Incognito said: “No, we’ve been practicing so much, it’s been a long preseason. Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday. Whatever day, we’ve been practicing in all of them.”
GATORS VS. CANES
Miami-Florida is Saturday, and it’s divided the Dolphins locker room along collegiate loyalties. There are four Gators and two Hurricanes on the roster.
“We can’t bet money but it’s going to be a lot of trash-talking,” said center Mike Pouncey, who went to UF. “[Miller, from UM will] be paying for something pretty soon.”
ODDS AND ENDS
• The online sports book Bovada lists the Dolphins’ odds of winning the Super Bowl as 40-1. The Patriots are the overwhelming favorite to win the AFC East at 1-3. The Dolphins are 13-4 to win the division.
• Will Davis (foot) and Jamar Taylor (hernia) remained out of practice Tuesday, but Davis no longer walked around in a boot, as he did Monday.
• John Denney and Pat Devlin were both absent from practice Tuesday. Denney was with his wife, Christy, who was giving birth to the couple’s child. It’s the Dolphins’ policy to not give reasons for missed practices until Wednesday, when the first injury report of the season is released.