MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins‘ Mike McDaniel is among the coaches who don’t like to strip players of their starting roles due to injury.
It sends the wrong message and can entice rehabbing players to try to return too early while they’re still hurt.
Yet, if there’s ever a time to make an exception, this is it, as rookie De’Von Achane went from a healthy scratch to a record-setter in two weeks.
Achane’s 203 rushing yards (on 18 carries and just 30 snaps) were the most in the Super Bowl era by an NFL player in his first or second game. Achane also scored four of the Dolphins’ absurd 10 touchdowns.
I count six different Broncos on the ground laying in Achane's wake. Pat Surtain has to come all the way from the other side of the field at cornerback to keep this from becoming a TD. pic.twitter.com/Fgod3NWtCa
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) September 25, 2023
It’s exactly the kind of big-play impact McDaniel envisioned when he lobbied GM Chris Grier to take Achane on Day 2 back in April.
But is it enough to convince McDaniel to elevate Achane past Jeff Wilson and Salvon Ahmed when those veteran backs return from midsection and groin injuries, respectively?
De’Von Achane Adds Another Weapon to Miami Dolphins Offense
“It’s a fortunate thing to have,” McDaniel said. “I have been on the opposite side of the coin. And, you know, the way that we utilize our running backs in this offense, there is really the opportunity to have production at that position from more than one — most of the time, multiple players — at that position.”
“I think there is a certain aspect of earning more opportunities, and I think when you play really well, you make it hard not to be able to at least incorporate someone in some sort of way,” he added.
“… Part of our strength too is our depth of very, very adept, talented, playmaking running backs. We can use them, use so many guys in different ways, and I think that can keep teams off balance. It’s a lot easier to prepare when you know exactly what you’re getting.”
What will Mike McDaniel do with De’Von Achane once Jeff Wilson and Salvon Ahmed return from injury? pic.twitter.com/mfrHjcrnyZ
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) September 25, 2023
McDaniel has joked multiple times about unleashing a “fabled five-running back personnel package,” but when Ahmed and Wilson return, he actually could.
Wilson is eligible to return from injured reserve after the Bills game, while Ahmed could theoretically play this week.
Whenever they do return, they’ll find snaps and carries harder to find than before.
“It’s kind of just a testament to him,” Dolphins right tackle Austin Jackson said of Achane. “He got in with us in OTAs. McDaniel coached him up, for sure. He’s taken all the coaching and has been attentive, like just purely elevated, and taken the coaching and working hard. I love to see that type of stuff out of him.”
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