DAVIE, Fla. — When the Dolphins signed Knowshon Moreno back in March, the general opinion was that he would push incumbent starting running back Lamar Miller for his job this season.
But Wednesday morning, in his 11th practice of the offseason program, Moreno spent most of the session either holding his helmet or working on the side with a trainer.
The only play he appeared in during what head coach Joe Philbin calls "competitive snaps" was one designed to draw the defense offsides. The ball was never snapped.
Watching Miller, Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee taking nearly all the first-team snaps isn’t where many expected Moreno to be at this point, but he isn’t worried.
After his ups and downs during his tenure in Denver, where he spent time on IR and in former coach John Fox’s doghouse, Moreno is just glad to have a job and is ready to do what is necessary to help his new team out.
"I’ll do whatever my role is on that team at that point," said Moreno, when asked about his forced time on the Broncos bench. "That was my role, on special teams or scout team. I embraced that and did what I had to do. I’ve always been that way."
For now, it appears his role in Miami is to learn Bill Lazor’s offense and, while he and the team won’t admit it, to get in better shape. When Moreno showed up for the first OTAs back in May, many in attendance noticed his weight was up.
Despite his lack of general participation in OTAs and now in mini camp, Philbin continued to defend Moreno in his press conference Wednesday. One thing is clear: he’s going to be brought along slowly.
"He comes into the building every day with a positive attitude," said Philbin. "He brings a lot of energy to the team, he’s picked up the system well and he’s right where he needs to be."
While his coach is confident in Moreno’s standing, there are still plenty of questions about where he’ll end up on the depth chart.
At this early point, Miller doesn’t appear to be in any imminent danger of losing his top job, especially in this new offense where his quickness will likely give him the edge over Thomas and Moreno. Meanwhile, the speedy Gillislee remains a sort of wild card, due to the fact he only got six carries in the one game he got action in last season.