Mostert, analyst explain Dolphins’ new running scheme. And the Edmonds/Mostert upside

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·5 min read
Carl Juste/cjuste@miamiherald.com
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A six-pack of Miami Dolphins notes on a Friday, focused on the running game and the new scheme:

New Dolphins running backs Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds have experience in Mike McDaniel’s wide zone rushing attack.

For those wishing to understand how it works, Mostert explains the system this way:

“It’s wide zone from a typical run scheme, but we do a lot of inside zone,” Mostert said. “There’s several different ways that we can attack the defense. When it comes to wide zone reads and stuff like that, you really have to just make your mark and that’s putting your foot in the ground and getting up field.

“You can’t just be a running back in the league; you have to also understand the blocking scheme, and if a lot of running backs tell you differently then they’re foolish on their part. With this offense, you definitely have to understand the blocking scheme and what the defensive front is and how the linebackers overplay the run and how do you counterbalance that.”

Former ESPN fantasy analyst KC Joyner, a diligent tape evaluator, who operates the website TheFootballScientist.com, e-mailed some insight about what Dolphins fans can expect with McDaniel’s running game:

“San Francisco may have the most complex run blocking scheme in the NFL. No team does a better job of incorporating elements that make one type of run play look like another. One example is when the 49ers run an inside zone play but toss the ball to the running back rather than hand it off. The toss sells the idea that the play is going outside and generates a defensive reaction that often times helps give the offense an edge.

“San Francisco will also use all manner of blockers for their counters and power rushes. Most teams stick with a reasonable number of pullers and lead blockers for these plays, but the 49ers will have every lineman, fullbacks, H backs, and even motion receivers pull and/or lead on these plays.”

Joyner told me that “one key for the Dolphins will be to get their running backs up to speed on reading defenses, especially on zone plays, as this system only works if you have backs capable of taking advantage of the blocking opportunities a zone scheme provides to them.

“McDaniel is apt to bring all of these elements to the Miami offense, so it will also be imperative for their blockers to get up to speed, as few systems in the NFL will ask more of its run blockers than the McDaniel system, assuming he mimics the 49ers setup.”

Mostert doesn’t expect his knee injury — to his cartilage — in last season’s 49ers opener will affect his ability to cut or impact his elite speed or acceleration.

“Me and Dr. [Dan] Cooper had a week of conversation specifically on my position and everything like that,” Mostert said.

“He said, ‘I’ve had O-linemen have this same injury and their position is a little more demanding as far as technique-based. That’s where it gets real tricky. I’ve [seen] cornerbacks have this same injury and have this same operation.

“I believe Xavien Howard was the one that got an operation done by Dr. Cooper and look how he turned out. He’s an All-Pro and Pro Bowl-caliber player. For him to come back and the mind-set that he had, it’s definitely one of those things that I know that I can come in, get this rehab and attack this rehab, get the surgery and be 120 percent rather than 110.”

Mostert observed Tuesday’s OTA session and expects to be ready for the regular-season opener.

New fullback Alec Ingold, on what it’s going to be like blocking for Mostert and Edmonds:

“Absolutely blazing speed. Everyone’s going to be running. Shoot, the entire offense is going to be running, and I know there’s going to be a lot of conditioning work when we get going in training camp and OTAs.

“Once they can break through the second level and they can take off like that and you can feel that speed, all of a sudden you have the offensive line moving, the wide receivers, everyone is running downfield with those guys. So the amount of speed that they bring to an offense, that’s exciting just to be able to chase those guys downfield after those explosive plays that they’re obviously capable of making.”

Ingold continues to work his way back from a Week 10 ACL injury last season when he played for the Raiders.

One thing that’s clear about McDaniel’s running backs: They must be versatile.

New Dolphins receiver Trent Sherfield, who played with new Dolphins running back Chase Edmonds for two seasons in Arizona, described Edmonds as “a wide receiver-running back guy that can really run routes, really has great hands. He’s not your typical running back. He’s not one dimensional whatsoever. Very, very dependable. Very, very high IQ when it comes to learning plays and just scouting the defense.”

The Dolphins’ backfield seems set with Edmonds, Mosert, Sony Michel and either Myles Gaskin or Salvon Ahmed.

Edmonds mentioned McDaniel as one of the reasons he chose Miami.

Cornerback and special teams ace Keion Crossen, who played very little defensively for the Giants last season, cited defensive coordinator Josh Boyer as the primary reason he chose Miami.

“Josh Boyer is a great coach; he drafted me when I was in New England and actually developed me in my rookie year. He’s a great guy, a really good coach. That was my reasoning for choosing Miami... Josh Boyer. He gets the best out of his players, and that’s exactly what I’m looking for.”