Coach Sherman: We Need A Running Back Who Does It All

Posted Aug 11, 2013

Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman meets with reporters to answer questions about Mike Wallace, the Dolphins running back competition and the identity of the offense that he wants to create in 2013.

(On how the tight ends worked downfield well in the game in Jacksonville) – “Pretty much what the defense gave us in that situation, they were defending the run and those throws were there and we took advantage of them. There were other times when we didn’t have good protection and we didn’t hit those guys. We happened to call something, had good protection and we hit them.”

(On the way the tight ends have been playing) – “I think they’ve made a lot of improvement, I think back to the minicamp when Dion (Sims) was here for rookie minicamp and he’s light years ahead of where he was at that time. He still has a long way to go, but certainly has made a lot of strides. I’m really proud of (Michael) Egnew, he’s made a lot of strides as well as a blocker I thought he had one of his best games, I don’t believe he caught a ball but he certainly blocked very well and his opportunities will come in the passing game. The other guys obviously (Dustin) Keller and (Charles) Clay, Clay really has stepped it up and Keller has shown what he is capable of doing as well. I think as a group they’re pretty solid and they’ll just keep getting better, (Tight Ends Coach) Dan Campbell does a great job with those guys.”

(On how he grades the blocking) – “I don’t feel like we’re behind, because really we’re only a week into training camp when you consider that we had the extra week. It’s never what you want it to be at this stage, you’re dealing with a lot of younger guys, so we’re working through some of those issues. We’ve had some injuries on the offensive line with two of our guards so we haven’t been able to have the complete unit out there that we’d like to have. Those are elements that come up during the course of a season and you have to be able to handle them, so we have to be able to handle them in training camp as well.”

(On what he saw from the first team offensive line on Friday) – “I thought we did some pretty good things, and other times we didn’t do things quite as well. We had some good, well blocked run plays, other runs weren’t blocked quite as well. We had some well blocked pass plays, and others not blocked quite as well. The thing that excites me when I look at the guys that we’re going to line up with, I believe with our skills guys and with our offensive line, I’m excited about those guys, we still have a lot of work to do though.”

(On at what point he feels comfortable with Lance Louis) – “Well, you have to realize that we’re really only, if you think about it, the preseason, we had the week advantage, so it’s like after our first preseason game. We aren’t that deep into it right now, we want to make sure we get full value on him in relationship to put him on the field when he’s ready and not try and get him hurt again, so we’re bringing him along step-by-step. We’re not going to put him out there and risk injury with him so we’re going to be cautious with him. When the times right with the trainers, hopefully we’ll know and we’ll put him out there and he’ll get more and more reps as we go.”

(On if running back competition is close) – “Yeah, I would say it’s pretty close, the running back competition. I thought that Daniel Thomas did a really nice job in the game the other day. Certainly (Lamar) Miller has had his shining moments as well, and some of the younger guys have stepped up. So some of the finer points are going to come up, how well do you catch, how well do you pass block. I think from a running stand point we have some pretty good runners, but to be the complete back, they have to be able to do all of those things. That’ll be the true test on who ends up being the starter, I believe.”

(On needing an all-around back) – “Yeah, we need someone who does it all. You hate to just substitute, he’s this guy, he’s that guy, we want complete players back there. I’m not a believer in the third down back necessarily, I think you tip your hand a little bit. You’re going to throw the ball on first down so you need a pass protector on first down as well as third down. We’re going to release them on scat protection on first down and third down so we need a receiving back as well. They have to be multidimensional and be able to do it all.”

(On if game goes ideally how its plan, is it 50/50 run and pass or more run heavy) – “Well it all depends, like the other night, they played if we had six they had seven, if we had seven they had eight, so they kind of force your hand. A lot of our runs were at the end of the game eating up the clock, we’re kind of running up hill a lot of times in those situations. It’s all relative to how defenses defend you and how they perceive you. If they perceive you can’t throw the ball, you’re going to have more population then you can in the run game, so they’re going to test your quarterback and receivers. If they believe that you can throw it effectively, then they’re going to see if they can hold up in the run game with their seven man front or six man front.”

(On what he wants the identity of the offense to be) – “I think the identity is that we can run it when we have to run it, and we can throw it when we have to throw it. I don’t think you can typecast to say we’re this or we’re that, I think we have to do on that day, and that game, at that time whatever it calls for. Sometimes you may be behind by ten with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter and have to throw it and to win. You may be ahead by eight and have to eat up the clock, so you have to be able to be good at all things I believe at this level.”

(On scenario with four running backs on the roster) – “There’s a possibility that could happen, I tell those guys all the time that they have to be a factor on special teams to have a role as a fourth or third running back. So really that decision, if they’re in the mix, that decision will come down to special teams, so they better make sure that they’re picking up our special teams coach in the morning, and driving him home at night and getting him breakfast. That’s going to be the deciding factor, how well they play special teams.”

(On how much of the offense has been seen through two preseason games) – “I’d probably say 40 percent maybe, 45 percent. You probably saw more of the offense in the minicamps and OTA’s of what we’ve done and what we’re going to do, it’s kind of sitting back there. Probably about 40 percent I think, 45 percent.”

(On how much will be seen by the end of preseason) – “Probably about 60 percent, I think.”