By now you’ve heard the rundown 100 times or more. The Miami Dolphins added coach Mike McDaniel and then tacked on Tyreek Hill, Terron Armstead, Connor Williams, Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel, Cedrick Wilson Jr., and others to the offensive depth chart. But with the pads now on and Miami’s offensive install formally underway, there’s a player lurking beyond the household names that appears poised to be an essential gear to help turn the wheels of the Dolphins’ effort on offense.
You will absolutely see spacing issues for opposing defenses courtesy of Hill. And Williams, amid some high snaps, does indeed appear to be set to anchor the offensive line as the starting center. Same for Armstead and the left tackle position.
But how about fullback Alec Ingold?
Ingold, an undrafted free agent from the 2019 NFL Draft cycle who played his first three seasons in the league with the Las Vegas Raiders, has been a delight to watch thus far in training camp. The fourth-year veteran suffered a torn ACL in Week 10 of the 2021 regular season, setting the stage for his departure from the Raiders. But with McDaniel in-house and the Dolphins looking to find pieces that can help emulate some of what has made the San Francisco 49ers’ offense so successful in recent years, Ingold is emerging as Miami’s potential chess piece to fill the shoes of Kyle Juszczyk in McDaniel’s offense.
Ingold has taken snaps in a variety of places and has been a player who has helped spring some of the best runs in the first few days of training camp. No, this isn’t a player who is going to log 100 carries or command 50 targets. As a matter of fact, Ingold logged 43 total touches in three seasons with the Raiders. But the Shanahan-rooted offensive systems need complementary players to help make everything hum. And Ingold’s early camp performance suggests he can be exactly that.
Ingold’s blood-red practice jersey pops amid Miami’s other offensive practice jerseys during these early training camp practices—serving as the lone reminder that Ingold is still recovering from a season-ending knee injury in 2021 and is less than nine months removed from that torn ACL. You certainly wouldn’t guess it from the energy and effectiveness he brings to the practice field during his reps. And with Miami’s desperate need to improve their ability to run the football, Ingold stands to quickly endear himself to the fan base in South Florida with his play if the bright flashes from early in training camp continue to carry over and he’s able to live up to his potential as a member of the Dolphins’ backfield.
He certainly sees himself as a tailor-made fit. Ingold spoke with Travis Wingfield of the “DriveTime Podcast” upon his signing with the team and sung the praises of the staff as an exciting fit for his own respective talents.
“Coach McDaniel, Frank Smith, the whole running back staff—everything about this offensive staff, this special teams was exciting,” said Ingold. “You’re excited to run the ball, you’re excited to be a part of that team that wants to do that, to put an emphasis on that. We got Raheem (Mostert) signed, we got Chase (Edmonds) signed…I can’t wait to get to work with these guys.”
Dolphins fans should be eager to see it all come together on the gridiron on a larger scale. Miami’s tight end room has been a bit quiet thus far in camp but the presence of Ingold as a blocker in two-back sets has helped to offset the modest showing from veteran tight ends Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe, Hunter Long, and others. If Miami has sprung a big run in practice (and there have been several of them each day of the week this week), odds are the red No. 30 jersey was a part of the success.
The Dolphins certainly have an improved offensive coaching staff at their disposal this season and the depth of the skill players is hard to miss. So, too, is the speed of the perimeter threats. But amid all of the other storylines that Miami’s offensive renaissance offers, don’t be too quick to gloss over Miami’s under-the-radar addition in Ingold, who could very easily become one of the straws to stir the drink in the run game and allow McDaniel’s well-documented offensive prowess shine through. If Miami indeed finds life on the ground this season, all those puzzle pieces coming together will be a large part of why. And for a Dolphins rushing attack that has been largely non-competitive for years and years, such a feat is a first-class ticket to becoming a fan favorite.
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