Take a guess on whom will be the starting running back for the Miami Dolphins. Mike McDaniel has plenty of capable backs who can fill the role.
Having multiple backs that can receive the bulk of the carries is good for McDaniel, who comes from the San Francisco 49ers‘ school of rotating running backs under Kyle Shanahan. San Francisco had a different player lead the team in rushing in all five seasons under Shanahan, with McDaniel as the run-game coordinator in the first four years and offensive coordinator in the final one.
Miami has a deep pool of running backs for McDaniel to rely on, each bringing out the best of each other as the Dolphins’ depth chart at the position remains a mystery.
“Right now, I’m very, very happy with that room. It’s one of my favorite rooms that I have been around,” McDaniel said Sunday. “The competition is fierce but they’re bringing the best out of each other.”
The Dolphins brought in Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, and Sony Michel this offseason — all three were featured running backs at certain stages in their careers. They also have Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed, two backs who have started games for Miami over the last two years.
Michel is the only one of the five backs who has over 900 yards in a season, but Mostert has thrived under McDaniel in averaging 5.7 yards per carry in his five seasons with the 49ers (284 carries). They appear to be the favorites to start and receive the bulk of the carries, but Edmonds has thrived in a No. 2 role in his four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (4.7 yards per carry on 333 carries).
If McDaniel has given any indication from his days in San Francisco, all three should have a prominent role in this offense. McDaniel had just two running backs to amass over 200 carries in his five years with the 49ers and the Dolphins’ running back rotation looks set up for a committee approach.
“They get along. … If your eyes can go fast enough, if there’s a good run, take your eyes and find Eric Studesville, the running backs coach, and find the running backs and they’re all fist-pumping and cheering. It’s awesome,” McDaniel said. “They really root for each other and understand that they want to win the job. They don’t want to be given it at the expense of somebody else.”