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Can Gaskin Retain a Role in Dolphins Offense?

Myles Gaskin has led the Miami Dolphins in rushing each of the past two seasons, but might have become the forgotten back after three offseason acquisitions at his position

After two seasons as the Miami Dolphins' rushing leader, Myles Gaskin might not have a big role in the Dolphins’ running game this season.

Miami signed free agents Raheem Mostert, Chase Edmonds and most recently Sony Michel to add talent to a running back room that has been a weak spot on offense for the last couple of years, putting Gaskin’s role in the offense this season very much in doubt.

Gaskin paid close attention to Miami’s additions at running back this offseason.

“Very much so because I mean, it's the team I've been on,” Gaskin said. “This is my team that I love. I love these guys and when they bring in someone else, I mean, I'm excited. I've been in this position where you can just learn from older guys who have been around. Obviously, these guys have played in big games. We went to Sony's house just yesterday. He got two Super Bowl trophies sitting in his front room. Those are the type of guys you want to be around, guys that have won the Super Bowl, been in huge playoff games, won huge games, and just kind of learn from them.”

How Gaskin stacks up as a runner

In 2021, Gaskin finished with a career-high 612 rushing yards, which was almost 300 more yards than the next-losest Miami back (Duke Johnson) but he averaged just 3.5 yards per attempt and 36 yards per game.

For reference, Edmonds finished 2021 with 592 yards while averaging 5.1 yards per attempt and 49.3 yards per game. To put that in further context, Edmonds played in five fewer games than Gaskin, and he shared the backfield with James Conner.

Michel outperformed Gaskin last season, too, as he finished with 845 yards and 4.1 yards per attempt, and the last time Mostert played more than 10 games (2019), he finished with 772 yards and 5.6 yards per attempt

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Gaskin clearly isn’t Miami’s best option as a runner, but he’s trying to take the opportunity to learn from his new teammates and carve out a role for himself.

“Trying to take care of my body as much as I possibly can and studying a lot of film just looking at other backs across the league just seeing how they play and trying to pick up little things from them,” Gaskin said. “And always the guys that are in our room now. So just kind of take bits and pieces from everybody's game just to add them on.”

What Gaskin can do to get on the field

Getting on the field might be an upfield battle for Gaskin this season, but his pass-catching ability could earn him some reps since both Mostert and Michel don’t offer a ton in that area.

Gaskin finished third on the Dolphins in receptions last season with 49 and was fourth in targets with 63. He turned those 49 catches into 234 yards and four touchdowns.

However, Gaskin still has competition for those third-down reps from Edmonds, who finished last season with 43 catches and 311 yards. He added another 53 catches for 402 receiving yards in 2020.

That probably puts Gaskin second in the pecking order for receiving touches out of the backfield, and with Miami’s additions at wide receiver, there probably aren’t a lot of those touches to go around.

Gaskin’s best shot to make significant contributions this season is to simply be available. Mostert is working his way back from knee surgery, Edmonds missed five games last season with injuries, and Michel missed seven games in 2020.

Despite a potentially bleak outlook on his playing time, Gaskin is ready to compete for whatever touches he can this season and is enjoying the energy brought by Mike McDaniel and the new coaching staff.

“Obviously, at the end of the day, we are all on the same team, but you want to compete,” Gaskin said. “I mean, you compete with your best friends, your brothers, whoever it is, so I'm a competitor to my core and always have been.”