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Daniel Thomas Returns But Is It Too Late?

Miami’s performance on the ground in last week’s convincing 35-13 win over the Oakland Raiders was the dream of every NFL running back as the team rushed for 263 yards on 43 carriers. Unfortunately for Daniel Thomas, he was not a part of it. 

After suffering a concussion in the season opener against the Houston Texans, Thomas was forced to watch from the sidelines as his teammates ripped off one huge run after another. With the Dolphins’ offensive line continuously creating running lanes throughout the course of the afternoon, Thomas could have very well had his first breakout game had he been on the field.

A now healty Daniel Thomas expects to return for this Sunday’s anticpated divisional matchup against the New York Jets, however he finds himself in a similar situation from a year ago. In 2011, Thomas had a promising start to the season until being hampered by a hamstring injury midway through. His absence provided Reggie Bush with the opportunity to take control of the team’s featured back role and as we know, Bush has never looked back. Thomas on the other hand saw a tremendous decrease in his overall production.

In week 3 of the 2012 campaign, there is now a possibilty that Thomas drops even furthur down the depth chart with rookie Lamar Miller making a strong case to be the Dolphins backup. Miller took full advantage of the chances given to him against Oakland, tallying 65 yards on 10 carries and adding a late touchdown. The fourth round pick out of the University of Miami also posseses a better skill set than Thomas and is certainly the more explosive runner of the two. 

Although Thomas lacks in several aspects of the game compared to Bush and Miller, the fact that he is the best blocker in the backfield works heavily in his favour and may turn out to be the reason he keeps his No. 2 role for the time being. In order for Thomas to live up to the expectations of being a second round pick there is still plenty to improve on, however his top asset will prove to be beneficial to the Dolphins offense this season.

With Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller in the fold, Miami has one of the best running back trios in the league. If Ryan Tannehill is to be put in the best possible position to succeed this year, the strengths of these three backs must coexist. 

For all the latest news and analysis leading up to Sunday’s game be sure to follow @Phins_Phocus on twitter. 

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