Newcomer Sony Michel has the most impressive career resume of any Miami Dolphins running back as a former first-round pick, the only one in the group to have more than 800 rushing yards in a season and with his two Super Bowl rings, not to mention his 37 career starts, more than twice as many as anybody else on the roster.
Despite all that, Michel knows he can't take anything for granted and assume he'll get the starting nod or the most carries among a group that includes returning starter Myles Gaskin and offseason acquisitions Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds.
“Iron sharpens iron,” Michel said. “I know these guys’ skill sets. They are all great running backs. They are all great runners. They are all starters. I think it benefits this team that we all compete our best, and eventually we’ll be our best. The opportunities will come. You’ve just got to take advantage of them.”
What Michel Can Bring to the Dolphins
It’s unlikely Michel is Miami’s long-term answer at running back given that he signed a one-year contract, but he's hoping the experience and habits he gained from his postseason runs with the New England Patriots and L.A. Rams will be beneficial.
“Just keeping my head down and working,” Michel said. “I think that’s all I know. I think that’s all I’m going to continue to do. And earn my teammates’ trust.”
Michel can be a quality short-term option for the Dolphins. He possesses a different running style than their other backs and was productive for the Rams last season, recording 845 yards, four touchdowns, 4.1 yards per carry, and a PFF rushing grade of 73.5.
Miami had just one running back, Duke Johnson, average more than 4 yards per carry last season.
The Dolphins wanted to add depth to their running back room because Mostert is working his way back from knee surgery this offseason and has a history of knee-related injuries from his time with the 49ers. Additionally, the Dolphins could benefit from his championship pedigree.
“If you have an opportunity in the offseason to add a player of his caliber, of his pedigree, just him as a human being and a multiple Super Bowl winner, we jumped at the opportunity,” Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said. “His interest fit our interest and competition for the Miami Dolphins is only a good thing. I think one thing that’s unique about that particular room is no one shies away from competition. Everybody in there is excited for the offense, for the opportunities, and wants the best man to win and isn't backing away from that.”
Michel a Good Fit
Michel believes McDaniel’s coaching background as a run game coordinator will benefit himself and the Dolphins as a whole. Under McDaniel, the 49ers finished sixth in the NFL in rushing attempts per game in 2021 and seventh in total rushing yards.
“He’s a coach that believes in running the football, and I believe in this league to be successful, you have to run the football and stop the run,” Michel said. “He’s committed to it, and that’s a reason why I came here.”
Michel also signed with Miami because it was a chance for him to return home. He grew up in South Florida and attended American Heritage School in Plantation before playing his college ball for the University of Georgia.
“[Playing for the Dolphins] was a dream, an aspiration,” Michel said. “I didn’t know how true it would become, but we’re here, and I’m excited. Words can’t really describe it.”
Michel mentioned he admired former Dolphins running backs Ronnie Brown and Reggie Bush growing up all of this while wearing Ricky Williams’ famous number 34. Like his position on Miami’s depth chart, it’s a number he knows he has to earn.
“Oh yeah, everybody knows this is a great number,” Michel said. “Ricky Williams ran the ball hard here and did a lot of numbers. I can’t be rocking it just to rock it. I’ve got to come out here and put in some work.”