On March 28th, the Miami Dolphins and Knowshon Moreno inked a one year deal. Moreno can certainly be called an upgrade to the Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas tandem, Moreno actually makes the entire offensive line better and he is the most complete back the Dolphins have had since the days of Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown with the Wildcat.
With the 2013 AFC Champions, Denver Broncos, Moreno made his pretense known averaging 4.3 yards a carry and finishing with 1,038 rushing yards and ten touchdowns. He also managed to play in al 16 games last season for the first time in his career.
However, Moreno will be at the mercy of a Miami Dolphins weak offensive line, but he brings a lot more than just a ball carrying option. Last year, Moreno gave Denver 60 receptions for 548 yards including 3 touchdowns. Miller and Thomas combined only managed 41 receptions for nearly 4 yards less per catch than Moreno, who averaged a little more than 9 yards per reception (fourth among all AFC backs).
For the Dolphins, a legitimate pass catching back out of the backfield bring a great benefit to Ryan Tannehill as it was for Peyton Manning in 2013. Moreno should be able to draw some attention underneath from defenses, this will open up the passing game and receivers Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace along with tight end Charles Clay should benefit from it greatly.
Some do argue that Moreno’s success with Denver was partially due to all the attention the Bronco’s passing game received a la Manning, but keep in mind that Moreno actually was the very first back to gain 1,000 yards with Manning since Addai back in the 2007 season.
Another benefit to be gained from Moreno is the help he brings in pass protection. The Miami Dolphins offensive line was just dreadful last season and both miller and Thomas did very little to help in that regard. When it came to picking up the blitz, pass protection was an obvious no-show, particularly with the Dolphins’ backs last year. As a Bronco, Moreno held his own when it came to protecting manning in pass situations. Manning was sacked 40 times less that Tannehill and was one of the least sacked passers among all starting quarterbacks.
There are big expectations coming out of Miami this coming season, the addition of Knowshon Moreno could very well end up being one of those underrated off-season signings. Moreno should conceivably be an upgrade on the ground, pass catching out of the back field and in protecting Tannehill as well as giving the Dolphins their most complete running back since the duo of Williams and Brown.
Last season, Moreno was ranked 5th in the entire NFL and yards from scrimmage ending the season with 1,586 yards (averaging nearly 100 per game). The last player to do something similar for the Miami Dolphins was Ricky Williams when he piled up 1,700 yards from scrimmage in 2003. Moreno will most likely have a statistical drop with Miami as Ryan Tannehill is no Peyton Manning and opposing defenses will not treat him as such but any improvement in the passing game due to his pass blocking and a reduction in sacks should automatically give Moreno upgrade status regardless of his rushing stats.