Pay Bush, who scored three touchdowns in the Dolphins' 24-10 win.
Play Miller, who gained 73 yards on 10 carries.
- Bio | E-mail | Recent columns
- Hyde and Kelly: Reshad Jones has had an unbelievable season
- Photos: Dolphins 24 Bills 10
Poll: Which Dolphin was most deserving of being selected to the Pro Bowl?
- Top 20 plays in Miami Dolphins history
- Photos: Miami Dolphins drafts through the years (1967-2013)
- Photos: Don Shula through the years
- Tannehill credits Reggie Bush's versatility
- Philbin lauds progress of five recent starters
- Reggie Bush talks about 'perfect pass from Ryan'
- Lamar Miller
- Miami Dolphins
See more topics »
Don't play running back Daniel Thomas as much or overpay tackle Jake Long, who hasn't finished the past two seasons because of injury and becomes an example of how cruelly fleeting football is after being replaced with no discernable difference.
So much of General Manager Jeff Ireland's job this off-season is to put the proper pieces around rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who made another modest step Sunday. Thirteen of 25 passing for 130 yards. Two touchdowns. No interceptions.
"We kept it simple,'' Tannehill said.
Maybe that's Ireland's job. Maybe it's just that simple. He stood in the middle of the Dolphins locker room after Sunday's game, no doubt wondering with everyone how the team that handled Buffalo Sunday lost to it in an ugly-fest just last month.
"We hit a low point where we were struggling to run the ball,'' Bush said when asked that.
That loss to Buffalo and a worse one at home to Tennessee cost the Dolphins a legitimate shot at the playoffs, which were a stretch from the start of this season. Their playmaking cast said as much. That's no secret to anyone.
And while you don't over-value running backs in today's world, you don't throw talent overboard, either. That brings up the case of Bush, whom you can't discuss today without mentioning Miller first.
Miller is the future. He's Mr. Next Season. He's younger, faster and 15 pounds bigger than Bush. You can get too giddy with his 72 yards Sunday, as they came against the second-worst run defense and were more than his combined total of the previous 11 games (51 yards).
But the idea inside the Dolphins is he'll be the feature back next year. That's assuming he's trusted with blitz-blocking schemes he wasn't at the University of Miami or with the Dolphins much of this year.
"I know the blocking,'' Miller said at his locker Sunday.
Was there a point this year he didn't?"
"No, I've always known it,'' he said.
OK, then. In the grand plan next season, Miller gets the 19 carries that Bush had Sunday (for 65 yards). And Bush? He'd get the 10 carries Miller did while Thomas' role would be diminished even more.
Bush also caught his first two touchdowns of the year Sunday, and this was one subject up for second-guessing. He created mismatches out of the backfield. He's tough in open space. Where's that been?
"Yes,'' he said when asked if he's getting more chances in the passing game of late.
"I don't know,'' he said. "You'll have to ask the offensive coordinator. I just run the plays they tell me."
On a touchdown-challenged team, Bush has eight of its 27 touchdowns – or 29.6 percent. Among the NFL's leading rushers, Adrian Peterson has 31.4 percent of Minnesota's touchdowns and Marshawn Lynch 24.1 percent of Seattle's.
The point isn't Bush is a back like them. It's that he's scoring touchdowns at a pace with the best. A team needing to add talent around Tannehill needs him back unless he prices himself out of the market.
Long is another cold-hearted matter. Without him, the offense hasn't collapsed. It hasn't even missed him, in fact. It ran 180 yards against Jacksonville and 182 Sunday against Buffalo, admittedly two of the league's worst defenses.
But the offensive problems against San Francisco and New England were more about the guys catching the ball than the ones blocking. Ireland knows he needs player who put points on the scoreboard. Everyone else knows, too.
Bush and Miller are an explosive backfield duo that can cause defenses fits. Throw in a talented receiver? And another tight end? That's the shopping list this off-season.
It's all about putting talent around Tannehill now. Pay Bush. Play Miller. And thank Long while saying no thanks.