With the pickup of Knowshon Moreno for Miami on Thursday with a one year deal, Dolphins fans should be ecstatic that this deal was done so soon. Most analysts towards the end of last week didn’t expect any deals with the Dolphins and a runningback until near or after the draft. Landing this deal lessens the absolute need to dedicate a 4th or 5th round pick to get a running back in the draft. But what will Moreno bring to Miami that should excite fans for offensive production next season?
Moreno rushed for 1038 yards last season with the Broncos, and this included only getting about 70% of the reps at the running back spot due to a split of time with Montee Ball. This is over 250 yards more than Lamar Miller last season, and Moreno had 10 rushing TDs to Miller’s 2 TDs. These stats show that Moreno simply plays on another level in comparison to Miller. With the new talent at offensive line coming in for the Dolphins through free agency and most likely in the draft as well, more solid blocking for running in between the tackles will give Moreno just one more reason to excel. Thus far, Dolphins haven’t shown interest in picking up any new playmaking receivers to contribute to the passing game, so OC Bill Lazor and his offense will be forced to rely heavier on Moreno’s rushing attack to carry them down the field.
Another factor that Miami absolutely must adjust their playbook to compliment is Moreno’s ability to be a receiving threat in the pass/screen game. Moreno had 60 receptions for 548 yards with 3 TDs. These are numbers from a running back that the Dolphins are unaccustomed to; the ability for Tannehill to check down to a dependable running back spilling out into the flats as a safety valve would has a positive effect on his downfield throwing ability due to secondary having to respect the running back in the passing game as well.
A one year deal with Moreno is a safe and strategic contract for the Dolphins because despite the very impressive numbers by Moreno last season, this was the first season he has put up any rushing numbers that even come close to 1,000 yards in a season since his 2009 rookie season when he rushed for 947 yards. He also has experienced some ankle injuries over the past season that could potentially become a recurring issue as he gets older. But overall, this is a pickup that the Dolphins fans and organization should be very excited about, and I would be willing to bet next season’s success will revolve around the success of Knowshon Moreno.