Wed Aug 5 2:27pm ET
By STEVEN WINE
AP Sports Writer
In this Oct. 31, 2019, file photo, San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida (22) carries the ball against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game in Glendale, Ariz. The Dolphins believe veteran newcomers Jordan Howard and Matt Breida represent a significant upgrade at the position, providing more punch and versatility for an offense that last year had the NFL's lowest rushing total since 2006. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, FIle)
MIAMI (AP) With two new running backs, the Miami Dolphins' ground game will look a lot different in 2020, and that's good.
''There aren't a whole lot of things that we can be certain of this year,'' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said, ''but I would put a lot of money on me not being the leading rusher.''
He was last year. The achievement was a testament to the 37-year-old Fitzpatrick's pluck, but also a reflection of the dismal productivity by Miami's running backs.
The Dolphins believe veteran newcomers Jordan Howard and Matt Breida represent a significant upgrade at the position, providing more punch and versatility for an offense that last year averaged 72 yards rushing per game, worst in the NFL since 2006.
''We brought in some dynamic talent, and guys that are hungry,'' Fitzpatrick said.
Last year the Dolphins went 5-11, and their running backs averaged less than 3 yards per carry. Kalen Ballage led the team with 74 carries but averaged 1.8 yards, the lowest figure for a running back with at least 70 carries since 1936.
Fitzpatrick bested any of the running backs with 243 yards and a 4.5 average. Breida smiled Wednesday when asked about Fitzpatrick's odd accomplishment.
''At first I thought it wasn't true,'' Breida said. ''Me and Fitz talked about that the other day. I just told him, `You can still run, Fitz. You're going to have to give me a run for my money this year.'''
The Dolphins hope not; they would prefer Breida and Howard do the bulk of the ball-carrying. The duo will run behind a line that should be better after Miami added tackle Austin Jackson and guard Robert Hunt in the first two rounds of the draft.
Howard, a power runner, signed as a free agent in March. Breida, a speedy breakaway threat, was acquired in April from the San Francisco 49ers for a fifth-round draft pick.
They're expected to share playing time under new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, who has a long history of success in the ground game.
''I know he has big plans for the running backs and how he is going to use us,'' Breida said.
Those plans likely include getting Breida into space. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry in three seasons with the 49ers, and last year 15 percent of his runs went for at least 10 yards, best in the league.
The native of Brandon, Florida, considers himself the NFL's fastest player.
''I got a Lamborghini not too long ago,'' he said. ''I like doing everything fast.''
Breida helped the 49ers reach the Super Bowl last season, but Howard has appeared in only one playoff game in his four NFL seasons.
''I definitely feel overlooked,'' Howard said. ''When I was racking up a lot of those yards I was on a losing team, so people don't really pay attention to that, and I don't really blame them.''
This season, unlike last year, the Dolphins' running backs might be worth watching.
August 5th: ADP Value
San Francisco 49ers WR Travis Benjamin has opted out of the 2020 season.
Arizona Cardinals TE Maxx Williams (undisclosed) passed his physical Tuesday, Aug. 4, and was taken off the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Jacksonville Jaguars DB D.J. Hayden (knee) passed his physical and was removed from the Physically Unable to Perform list Tuesday, Aug. 4.
Updating a previous story, Las Vegas Raiders LB Ukeme Eligwe was placed on the Reserve/Opt-Out list Tuesday, Aug. 4.
Updating a previous story, Miami Dolphins WR Allen Hurns was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, Aug. 4.
Updating previous stories, free-agent RB LeSean McCoy (Chiefs) officially signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday, Aug. 4.
Buffalo Bills DT Vincent Taylor was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, Aug. 4.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Devontae Booker was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, Aug. 4.
Updating a previous story, Las Vegas Raiders DT P.J. Hall was released after failing his physical with the Minnesota Vikings and the trade was nullified.
New York Jets RB Trenton Cannon was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers Tuesday, Aug. 4.
Las Vegas Raiders LB Ukeme Eligwe opted out of the 2020 season Tuesday, Aug. 4.
New England Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu (undisclosed) passed his physical and was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list Tuesday, Aug. 4, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Sanu won't warrant much fantasy consideration heading into the season regardless of who is under center for the Patriots. He may become a streaming option later in the year.
Oakland Raiders DT P.J. Hall (undisclosed) failed his physical with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, Aug. 4, and reverts back to the Raiders. They intend to cut him.
Miami Dolphins CB Cordrea Tankersley was waived Tuesday, Aug. 4.
San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo provided an update on his knee Tuesday, Aug. 4, saying the difference has been night-and-day from last season and 'it's able to do whatever it needs to do.'
Fantasy Spin: Garoppolo didn't seem to be hindered too severely while guiding the Niners to the Super Bowl, and he has never provided much in terms of fantasy contributions via rushing yards. Perhaps an improved ability to scramble would help him cut back on last season's 13 interceptions. He should be viewed as a low-end QB1 or high-end QB2.
Miami Dolphins WR Allen Hurns opted out of the 2020 season amid COVID-19 concerns Tuesday, Aug. 4, according to head coach Brian Flores.
Fantasy Spin: Hurns had been penciled in as the starter opposite DeVante Parker. Look for Preston Williams to play a larger following his surprising rookie season as an undrafted free agent.
Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford was removed from the COVID-19 list and placed back onto the active roster Tuesday, Aug. 4. His positive test for COVID-19 was determined to be a false-positive.
Fantasy Spin: Any concern over his status and availability for the regular season should be gone. He's a strong target as a low-end QB1.
Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (knee) was placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Tuesday, Aug. 4.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told ESPN reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala that his arm "feels really good" in a Zoom call on Tuesday. Roethlisberger missed almost all of the 2019 season after tearing three flexor tendons in his right elbow. The veteran quarterback also stated that he has thrown way more than usual during the offseason and is in tremendous shape entering his age-38 season. Many signs point to a revitalized Pittsburgh offense this season with Roethlisberger back under center, although there is at least some concern as he's entering his 17th NFL season and has a long injury history. That being said, he's still a huge upgrade on offense over Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges from a year ago. Draft Big Ben as an upside QB2 in fantasy drafts this month.
Free-agent DE Ziggy Ansah (Seahawks) is going through a physical and COVID-19 testing with the San Francisco 49ers Tuesday, Aug. 4.