Dolphins will be much more balanced in 2014
After running the ball less than 35 percent of the time last year, Miami should be far more balanced under new OC Bill Lazor. How will the change affect Mike Wallace and other Dolphins?
"Very crucial. We have to be able to run the football to win games,'' Wallace said in mid-October. "We're not going to win being one-dimensional, throwing the ball all day. You have to be able to run the football. Everybody knows we have to run the ball."
Wallace was a massive disappointment, but he was right. Miami ran the ball 34.9 percent of the time. Only Atlanta and Cleveland ran it less often. The Dolphins finished 29th in rushing attempts and 26th in rushing yards despite fielding the No. 8 scoring defense.
Miami's pass-heavy scheme and terrible offensive line got Ryan Tannehill sacked a league-high 58 times.
Enter Lazor, who spent last season absorbing Chip Kelly's ideas in Philly. The Eagles ran 47.4 percent of the time, sixth-most in the NFL.
"You come off of a season like we did where we were the leading rushing team in the NFL," Lazor told Scout.com. "We had the leading rusher. We had the highest-rated passer. We were able to be an explosive offense. Certainly a lot of things that led to that are going to have a great impact on what I believe works going forward.”
After signing a $60 million contract, Wallace finished as the No. 25 Fantasy wideout. He dropped 11 passes, tied for fifth-most, and averaged a career-low 12.7 yards per catch. His chemistry with Tannehill was lacking as Wallace caught just 53.3 percent of his targets.
With an improved offensive line featuring Branden Albert, Shelley Smith and Mike Pouncey, the addition of Knowshon Moreno and a bigger emphasis on the run, Miami should be more effective on play-action fakes. Tannehill had a 76.6 rating on play-action passes last year, which ranked 21st.
Jamey Eisenberg ranks Wallace 31st among wideouts, with Dave Richard and Nathan Zegura ranking him 33rd.
The threat of a running game should help Wallace break loose more often. Lazor's approach is good news for Moreno and keeps Lamar Miller relevant in Fantasy. And a less-battered, more efficient Tannehill could turn into a solid QB2.
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