Legend has it that Vonta Leach actually created the hole. We now often refer to it by its somewhat more sophisticated name, the “running lane”. But the concept of opening massive spaces for running backs to prance through without the presence of another human body was invented by Leach.
He’s the fullest fullback, and now he could be the newest Miami Dolphin. This means glorious things for Lamar Miller, who’s been pegged as a breakout candidate by every grandmother with a fantasy team. Have you ever sat in on a grandmothers league live draft? Teeth fly, and full DVD sets of Matlock are wagered. It gets ugly.
Leach was cut by the Ravens last week, continuing an offseason of remodeling by the defending champs. He’s a true brute fullback, meaning he’s the last of a dying breed in the NFL, with teams often sliding a tight end into the backfield and using him as a lead blocker instead.
Up to seven teams were pursuing Leach, but now only a few remain, with the Dolphins among the leading contenders to sign the 31-year-old, and Houston is also in the mix. The Miami Herald reported that head coach Joe Philbin wants a deal done by the end of the week. It’s now Friday, so the end of the week could become the end of the day.
You’ll recall Leach as the guy who opened vast, clean space for Arian Foster in 2010, his breakout season which is also still his best season. That year Foster ran for 1,616 yards (an average of 101.0 per game, and 4.9 per carry) with 16 touchdowns. Then when he moved on to Baltimore he smashed more bros in front of Ray Rice, which led to another career high in rushing yards when the Ravens RB sauntered pleasantly for 1,364 yards and 12 touchdowns.
You’re seeing where this is headed. If Miller is indeed the Dolphins’ starting running back and he’s set to wear that cowbell all season long (there’s no reason to think he isn’t, especially if you ask his quarterback), then the presence of Leach will lead to sweet returns, and reaching that 1,500-yard goal will be a little easier.