It has been quite a while since the Miami Dolphins last had a keen running game that they could rely on over a season.

Just in the 2021 campaign, the Dolphins’ rushing attack failed to balance out the offense for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The group ranked at 31st in the NFL in rushing yards per game with a 92.2 average to go along with a lowly 1.6 rushing yards after contact per rush mark. More so, Miami also capped off the campaign with a mere 34 10-plus rush yard gains, as only the Houston Texans (23) logged fewer such plays.

Dolphins general manager Chris Grier went all out to bolster the team’s running back depth over the free agency period, coming to terms with Chase Edmonds, Sony Michel and Raheem Morset on deals. Out of this trio of players, Edmonds not only has what it takes to rise to the occasion in his debut season in Miami, but he can also blossom as an X-factor for the team on the offensive side of the ball.

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Dolphins X-Factor To Emerge in 2022 NFL Season

After a four-year run with the Arizona Cardinals, Edmonds decided to take his talents to the Dolphins on a two-year deal in March. He finished off his tenure with the NFC West side tallying 2,472 yards from scrimmage and 14 total touchdowns in 57 regular season games played.

Edmonds’ role for his first season with the Dolphins is currently up in the air, as head coach Mike McDaniel and offensive coordinator Frank Smith have yet to touch on their plans for the versatile running back.

At the least, Edmonds is ready for whatever the two have in store for him.

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“I’ve played against it [McDaniel’s run game system] for the last four years,” Edmonds said during Dolphins’ OTAs. “It’s something special with how they disguise everything, the window dressing to make everything look the same. It really confuses the defense and holds the defense to be disciplined and have gap integrity.

“I think that’s something I’m good at, specializing my zone scheme. I’m excited to get into the zone and work my feet, work the rhythm. It’s a different scheme than what I’m used to. I was predominately inside zone, so working my feet, getting used to the outside zone track, getting used to the outside zone feel, how certain lanes feel.”

As Edmonds touched on, zone scheme has been a cornerstone of McDaniel’s run game system, and this was on display during his one-season run as San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator.

Edmonds is slated to feature in a multitude of outside zone run plays in the coming season, which much appeals to his preferred style of play.

“I think for me, it’s how they run this offense and how they window dress,” Edmonds said during Dolphins OTAs. “I was just saying they make a lot of things look the same. But yet there are small kinks and differences that really open lanes up for us. It really holds a defense to be disciplined and always in their gaps. If the miss a gap, that’s when a lane opens up wide-open for me.

“That’s something that I’m looking forward to and experiencing that.”

Regardless of whether McDaniel opts to name Edmonds as the Dolphins’ starting running back come Week 1, the all-around talent is set to take part in plenty of snaps on offense — especially in 21 personnel. McDaniel rolled out plays under 21 personnel for a league-leading 425 snaps during his run as offensive coordinator for San Francisco last season. Whether it will be alongside Michel or Myles Gaskin, Edmonds is projected to be a feature back in this personnel grouping that includes two running backs.

Edmonds’ ability to open up an offense as a receiver should also come in handy for the Dolphins. He tallied 96 total receptions in his final two seasons in Arizona, which included posting a career-high 5.9 yards per target average last year. Whether it was in receptions out of the backfield or in sheer dump-offs, he thrived as a reliable target for quarterback Kyler Murray over the campaign.

Overall, Edmonds can be that do-it-all player for the Tagovailoa-led Dolphins offense this year. From his agility out of the backfield to his prowess to wiggle his way into open space on the field in passing plays, he has the tools needed to be an X-factor for an offensive unit that already has a multitude of stout expectations for the 2022 campaign. The likes of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle sure can use any help they can get from Edmonds and the rest of the Dolphins’ running backs group.