Gillislee Eager To Make His NFL Debut; Other Notes

Posted Nov 27, 2013

Rookie running back is hoping to get his first chance this week.

Patience is a virtue for rookies in the National Football League, and Miami Dolphins rookie running back Mike Gillislee has been as patient as they come this season. Now his patience might pay off.

After being taken in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft, Gillislee made some immediate waves in training camp and the preseason with his speed and running style. Even though he was planted behind Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas and Marcus Thigpen on the depth chart, his upside was something worth paying attention to.

Thomas injured his ankle last week against the Carolina Panthers and his status for Sunday’s game at the New York Jets is in doubt, which means Gillislee could be counted on to fill in. His legs certainly are fresh being that he only had 11 starts at the University of Florida, all of them last year as a senior. He also has gained a lot from watching some of his teammates like rookie left guard Sam Brenner and rookie tight end Dion Sims make significant contributions.

“Being able to see those guys, like Brenner come right off the practice squad, and just go right out there and play, that gave me confidence,” said Gillislee, who rushed for 1,152 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Gators last season. “I feel like I can do the same thing so that helped me out a lot.”

Thomas and Miller have accounted for 191 of the team’s 231 rushing attempts through the first 11 games, with Thomas carrying the ball 77 times for 279 yard and three touchdowns. He’s the veteran of the room in just his third season, with Miller and Thigpen both in their second.

So Gillislee played it smart from the moment he arrived in South Florida and paid close attention to how Miller and Thomas practiced and ran the ball. He also put extra effort into the blocking aspect of his game and that was not lost on Miami’s coaching staff.

“He’s a very competitive guy,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “He has done a good job assignment wise, protection wise he has done a very good job in that area and he has got good skill.”

That competitive fire continues to burn inside of Gillislee and he learned how to tame it the proper way his first three years at Florida. The Deland native had to wait his turn behind the likes of Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps, so his combined rushing total from 2009-11 was 920, or 232 fewer yards than he managed as a senior.

Having been down that proverbial road before of waiting his turn, Gillislee has been careful to take the same approach with the Dolphins that led to his success with the Gators.

“Being able to watch these 11 games watching Lamar and Daniel pick up those linebackers gave me mental reps so I feel like I’m ready to go,” he said. “I’m ready to go now but until I put those pads on come Sunday, that’s when I’ll believe it.”


Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon was credited with a second sack of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in last week’s game at Sun Life Stadium, giving him 7.5 for the season. That’s the highest number of sacks by a Dolphins player other than two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake since Joey Porter recorded nine back in 2009, which happened to be Wake’s first season in Miami.


The team took a little extra time warming up today knowing that will they not have another practice until Friday and tomorrow’s holiday will invite a little more eating than normal. To that end, there was enough time to play four songs inside the bubble, beginning with “Royals,” by Lorde. Then it was a trip back to the 1970s with Rick James’ “Mary Jane,” which was followed by “23,” by Mike WiLL Made It featuring Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and Miley Cyrus. The fourth song, which only was played for about 15 seconds before the horn blew, was “Let’s Go,” by Calvin Harris featuring Ne-Yo.

Latest Headlines

Game Pass: Miami Dolphins