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Daniel Thomas ready to make good for Dolphins

  • By Brian McIntyre NFL.com
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Injuries hampered Miami Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas in a big way last season. With those troubles in the past, however, both he and the team are banking on bigger things in 2012.

"I know I've gotten better," Thomas told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald on Sunday. "The injuries affected me a lot last year. They messed my mind up. I lost the confidence I had. I didn't have the same burst I had earlier (in the season)."

Selected in the second round of the 2011 draft, Thomas was penciled in as the starter, until the team acquired Reggie Bush from the New Orleans Saints.

Thomas battled hamstring injuries during the start of the season, while Bush secured the lead role in the backfield. In limited action, Thomas averaged just 3.5 yards per carry, finishing his rookie campaign with a 2.6-yard average in the final month of the season.

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Though he didn't cite a specific source, Jackson reported that the Dolphins are expecting new coach Joe Philbin to help Thomas and second-year receiver Clyde Gates turn a corner. It's also worth noting, however, that the Dolphins traded up to select former University of Miami running back Lamar Miller in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Thomas said he "can't worry about who they're drafting," and he probably doesn't have to. Bush hasn't played a full season since 2006 and Miller is more of a speed back with limited experience (he had one year as a starter before he turned pro). As for Gates, the team's reported interest in Chad Ochocinco speaks volumes for the opportunity for playing time that exists at the receiver position. Gates measures 6-foot but plays taller, and if he can improve his route-running, he could work his way into a role in the offense this season.

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