Well, this sounds familiar.
Remember when the Dolphins were questioned about whether they were using running back Lamar Miller enough? Back when it seemed like no matter what, he was on a 12-carry pitch count?
Turns out the Houston Texans plan to scale back Miller’s load, too.
Houston coach Bill O’Brien told reporters at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis that he put too much on Miller’s plate to start last season. Miller averaged 25 carries for the first three games.
“I think he probably carried it a little bit too much early on,” O’Brien said. “We were very, very dependent on him because he’s that type of player.”
Consider that in his four seasons with the Dolphins, Miller had 20 or more carries in a game only twice. In fact, Miller averaged just 10.4 carries for his Dolphins career. In his first season with the Texans last year, Miller averaged 19.1 carries — but his per-carry average matched his career low of 4.0 yards.
Although Miller finished 2016 with a respectable 1,073 yards, his production dropped as the season went on, whether due to fatigue or injuries (Miller had several). He averaged 4.6 yards in those first three games but 3.3 in the final four. Compare that to Miller’s best season in Miami, when he averaged 5.1 yards on 216 attempts for 1,099 yards.
While O’Brien won’t take the ultraconservative approach of Joe Philbin (no surprise), it’s clear Miller will have an opportunity to have fresher legs come next December and January.
“We feel like we have a pretty diverse group of running backs,” O’Brien said. “So I think in order to get him at his best in January, we probably need to cut down on that early in the year.”
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