Running Back, not QB, may be Bigger Need for Dolphins
December 29th marked the end of the 2019 season for the Miami Dolphins.
Welcome to the offseason.
Each day it seems a new rumor or theory rises to the surface. How will the Dolphins rebuild the roster?
Fans, and owner Stephen Ross, agree that the Dolphins are in need of a franchise quarterback.
While it is undeniable that a franchise quarterback is needed in order to create a franchise worthy of competing for a Super Bowl, is finding a quarterback the top priority?
It seemed that the Dolphins were starting three or four new players each and every week. Some continuity within the roster proved Miami wasn’t as awful as some thought.
AFC East standings, weeks 9-17 of the 2019 season.
1. New York Jets (6-3)
2t. Buffalo Bills (5-4)
2t. Miami Dolphins (5-4)
4. New England Patriots (4-4)
— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) December 29, 2019
The Dolphins defeated two division winners in December (Philadelphia and New England) and saying that Ryan Fitzpatrick was the best quarterback in the AFC East may not be too farfetched.
Another FitzMagic performance! Ryan Fitzpatrick was UNSTOPPABLE in Week 17! 🎯 (by @CourtyardHotels)@MiamiDolphins | #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/mwrBjFII6R
— NFL (@NFL) December 31, 2019
Fitzpatrick completed 62 percent of his passes for 20 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and 3,529 yards. He had more passing touchdowns than Sam Darnold and tied Josh Allen, but threw for roughly 500 more yards.
Tom Brady threw for four more touchdowns and roughly 500 more yards, but started two more games than Fitzpatrick. It is important to keep in mind that the point here isn’t to say that Fitzpatrick is better than one of the best quarterbacks of all time.
However, bringing Fitzpatrick back would likely be a better option for the Dolphins than forcing a top-pick on a player Chris Grier and Miami’s front office is not sold on.
There is one stat from Fitzpatrick that must change headed into next season.
NFL stats and records, Week 17: Ryan Fitzpatrick oldest to lead team in rushinghttps://t.co/KiNOaHmpwp pic.twitter.com/X6O5cf4lEG
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) December 30, 2019
The Dolphins need to address the running back room
Fitzpatrick’s 243 yards on the ground was the most by any player by the Miami Dolphins in 2019.
The Dolphins started the season with Kalen Ballage, Kenyan Drake and Mark Walton as the team’s top backs. The room quickly crumbled.
Drake was traded after reports came out that he didn’t want to re-sign with the team.
Walton had a few strong games, but will likely never be on a football field again after some legal issues.
Ballage finished the season with three touchdowns with a steady 1.8 yards per attempt on 74 attempts on the year before suffering a season-ending injury.
Patrick Laird, Myles Gaskin and Samaje Perine were alright in limited time, but the Dolphins have the salary cap space and draft capital to give the position a major facelift.
Eight of the top 11 rushing teams earned a spot in the NFL playoffs. Despite the modern day “pass happy” NFL, there is still plenty of reasons to establish the run.
Fans want to a quarterback and who could blame them? What would help a young signal caller more than an established running game? For that, it should be reasonable to want the Dolphins to pick one or maybe even two running backs in the first five rounds of the NFL draft.
If the Dolphins don’t want to “waste” the picks in the backfield, there are already some interesting rumors around the free agent class of backs.
I have consistently heard whispers about how much the Dolphins like Melvin Gordon for a year. Curious whether this throws water or gasoline on that fire. https://t.co/hDaYQzrHOb
— Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) December 31, 2019
After Gordon there are a still a few other names to keep an eye on.
The Dolphins have plenty of work to do this offseason. It is clear that the team needs to find the quarterback of the future, but running it back with Fitzpatrick wouldn’t be the worst outcome for the franchise.
The Dolphins cannot afford to average a league-worse 72 yards per game on the ground in 2020.
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