Dear Lamar Miller,
News broke today that you and the Dolphins are discussing a potential contract that would bring you back in the $5 million per year range.
Lamar Miller has been a Dallas Cowboys fan favorite for a long time. There have been websites created trying to persuade you to come to Dallas. Cowboys fans have been relentless on Twitter attempting to recruit the underutilized former Dolphins running back to the Dallas Cowboys.
Before anything happens, I’d like to have a word with you Lamar. Let me have one last ditch effort at trying to convince you that a career move to the Dallas Cowboys would be the best decision for you as you look to accomplish your goals.
Lamar, you have expressed your interest in being a high volume running back. You want to be one of the league’s stars and there is little doubt in my mind that you not only can be one, but are already.
Forget that the Dallas Cowboys were your childhood favorite team. This is about legacy. When Lamar Miller retires, being a Dallas Cowboy not only comes with its perks, but behind that offensive line and with that quarterback and how you fit the offense, you can make records. Not just team records but career records.
Let’s dive into the statistics.
You can’t start anywhere else but with DeMarco Murray in 2014. Look at what he did behind this offensive line that has only gotten better since. He had a career season in 2014 and one of the best seasons in NFL history.
DeMarco Murray had 1,845 yards on 392 carries in 2014. That is good for an average of 4.71 per carry. Murray had 45 runs of 10+ yards, leading the league in that category. Murray was one of eight players having over 200 carries to have a stuffed percentage of less than 10%.
Compare these numbers to 2015. Adrian Peterson led the league in rushing with 1,485 on 327 carries. Peterson averaged 4.54 per carry and had a stuffed percentage of 14.4.
DeMarco Murray failed to break 1,000 yards as a member of the Eagles, racking up 702 yards on 193 carries with a stuffed percentage of 12.4.
Clearly DeMarco Murray was a completely different running back after leaving the Cowboys and it has been well documented how unhappy he now is with the Eagles and has even been rumored to want to go back to the Cowboys.
Darren McFadden entered 2015 as the Cowboys backup running back, coming off of several disappointing seasons. McFadden battled tons of injuries and poor play, but was re-born as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
After taking over as the starting running back once Joseph Randle was released, McFadden put on a show. On 239 carries McFadden finished fourth in the NFL in rushing with 1,089 yards. McFadden averaged 4.56 yards per carry and had a stuffed percentage of 10.0.
Now let’s get into the difference between you and Darren McFadden in 2015, and how much different things could be with you as a Cowboy.
You only had 194 carries as a member of the Miami Dolphins, despite averaging 4.49 yards per carry. Miller failed to reach 1,000 yards and had a stuffed percentage of 10.8. With Jay Ajayi being a high profile piece of the Dolphins backfield, you have to wonder if you will get the carries needed to become a fixture in homes across the country.
Football Outsiders introduces new next-level statistics to judge running backs, such as Value Over Average. What this statistic tries to measure is the difference between runs of the same yardage. For example, if one player runs for three yards but the average running back would have had more on that play they get a higher percentage for that particular run. This statistic is extrapolated for the entire season.
While McFadden leads you in every other statistic on Football Outsiders, there is a massive difference between you and McFadden in this statistic.
You have a VOA of 4.8% compared to Darren McFadden’s 1.5%.
What this does is confirm the common observation that Darren McFadden would take what the offensive line gave him, but didn’t fully utilize what he could have. Even with this statistic saying you got more out of your runs than Darren McFadden, McFadden had 27 runs of 10+ yards compared to your 22.
McFadden even managed to have two more 100+ yard games than you did despite not being the starter until week 8.
Lamar, what these statistics show is how valuable the Cowboys offensive line is to the success of the run game in Dallas. It is no coincidence that both Darren McFadden and DeMarco Murray had career years in Dallas.
The advanced statistics show that McFadden had a highly effective season as the Cowboys running back, but the sky is the limit if someone like you came in to run the football. A three yard run by McFadden could be a twenty yard run with you running the ball. A season with less than 200 carries would lead to seasons of 300+ carries. Yearning for greater than 1,000 yards will become yearning for greater than 2,000.
This is apples and oranges. It comes down to legacy as I stated before. No other team offers this kind of package. Do you want to take less hard hits despite a lot more carries? Do you want to transform working hard to get through the line of scrimmage into working hard to get through the secondary?
Money is great, but I wonder how DeMarco Murray is feeling right now.
If Lamar Miller wants to make history with the team he grew up rooting for then the choice is simple. Put that star on your helmet and approach every single snap knowing you have a chance to get into the end zone no matter where you are on the field.
DeMarco Murray laid the groundwork. Now let’s take that to a whole new level.
Lamar Miller… we want you.