Sounds about right. In Lazor's offense and with a competent line, we could be in store for big things from Miller & Moreno.
Miller has never been known as the world’s most-physical runner. He is not a player who moves piles with impressive leg drive, or stiff arms linebackers to tack on extra yards. Knowing this, I expected it to be one of the main takeaways from his film. Instead, I found a back who ran better than his statistics or workload would indicate, one severely let down by his line and coaching staff.
Miller is still more lightning than thunder. True to his reputation, he rarely, if ever, emerged from dogpiles with extra yards. Fighting through scrums is not his strong suit, and never will be. Miller can be felled by arm tackles, and occasionally gets ragdolled like Chris Johnson. He doesn’t always make the right cuts.
But Miller is not only fast, but quick. His acceleration jumps off the screen. Miller isn’t quite a CJ2K-esque blur, but he’s undoubtedly one of the swiftest running backs in the league. When Miller finds his lane, he’s almost always good for 5-6 yards. He gets what’s blocked, even if he’s operating with a hole the size of Tavon Austin. Miller is not immune to making the wrong read, but he gives away much fewer runs than the numbers would lead you to believe.
The problem is that, like his coaching, his blocking was as bad as advertised last season. Again, Miller is not a player who’s going to take on two tacklers and escape with extra yards. This stood out in 2013 because Miller received almost no second-level blocks. It was one cut, one block, one tackle. On the few occasions Miller’s blockers did manage to occupy a linebacker or defensive back, he usually gained 15-20 yards.
This was most pronounced on Miami’s outside-zone runs, or the rare instances Miller had the nerve to bounce wide on his own. Miller’s skill-set is tailor made for getting to the perimeter and upfield for monster gains. If only his line couldever set the edge. Whenever he was sent outside, Miller was a home run with a Green Monster in front of him. Almost without fail, Miller would be swallowed up whole before he could even think about cutting upfield. It wasn’t a matter of hesitance (Trent Richardson) or a lack of burst (Ray Rice). It was Miller’s offensive line working like a strainer. When you have a space back you can never spring into space, you have a running back who’s not ripping off as many long gains as you’d like.
There were other issues. Miller remains a work in progress as a pass protector, and has surprisingly stiff hands. He is neither the strongest nor smartest back. But the faults that defined his 2013 were the ones that were out of his control.