Let’s get this out there: Knowshon Moreno understands he has work to do.
Much has been made about Moreno’s place in the Miami Dolphins’ pecking order after working extensively with the third and fourth strings Monday. Incumbent starter Lamar Miller appears to have an early leg up in the running back competition.
And Joe Philbin has already acknowledged that Moreno’s fitness probably needs some improvement.
Moreno, for his part, agrees.
“I’m definitely not there,” Moreno said when asked by The Miami Herald if he’s where he needs to be physically. “This is just the beginning. It’s just the beginning, getting your feet wet, and when you have time off, working at those little things, getting back to where you need to be, and once camp comes, it’ll be good.”
So no, as Moreno acknowledges, he is not in game shape yet. And it might be why Miller took the bulk of the snaps with the starters at Monday’s Organized Team Activities.
Moreno is still by far the most accomplished running back on the roster, and just one of three current Dolphins to appear in a Super Bowl (Dannell Ellerbe and Mike Wallace are the others).
So the Dolphins are going to give him every opportunity to win the starting job – even if it’s in name only. History suggests it will be a by-committee approach.
Since Philbin took over in 2012, no Dolphin running back has had more than 227 carries, and none has cracked 1,000 yards.
Moreno had 241 for 1,038 in Denver last year.
“We aren’t lining up until September 7th,” Philbin said last week. “The big thing is providing opportunities for repetition. ... We want to get a lot of plays on tape, take a look at it [and] teach it. Obviously, we are studying personnel and who can do which job the best. There will be a time and a place for all of that, but right now we are just interested in getting guys some work and exposure.”
Philbin also expressed a willingness to let one of his rushers get featured-back carries (250-300 a season) this fall – which would give the Dolphins far more balance than a year ago. They called passing plays on nearly two-thirds of their snaps in 2013.
Moreno said he’s fine with his place in the competition right now, and though he wants to be an every-down player, he sees the talent around him.
Perhaps that’s why his summer vacation will be a working one. Though Moreno plans to spend some time back in Denver after next week’s mandatory minicamp, he’ll spend most of the time leading up to training camp in South Florida.
“I’ll be mostly here, working out in the heat,” he said.
No better way to get into shape.