It’s time to put some respect on Raheem Mostert’s name, and what he’s accomplished throughout his NFL career.
And let’s not forget what this former practice squad player turned NFL journeyman, who has flourished with the Dolphins after coming back from a season-ending knee injury, is on the verge of achieving in 2023, on pace for a career-best season.
When De’Von Achane suffered his first knee injury, the rookie tailback went on injured reserve as the NFL’s second-leading rusher, trailing only San Francisco’s Christian McCaffrey.
Coincidence or not, when Achane re-injured the same right knee in last Sunday’s 20-13 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, the Dolphins closed the game out with the NFL’s second-leading rusher.
That’s right, Mostert, who has gained 691 yards and scored 11 touchdowns on 131 carries, trails only McCaffrey (825 rushing yards and nine touchdowns off 174 carries) when it comes to rushing yards produced this season heading into these Week 12 games.
Mr. Do It All keeps churning out yards
“Raheem is Mr. Do it All. We can rely on him. He’s one of the most reliable teammates I’ve ever had,” said Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead. “He’s consistent. He’s driven. He won’t be denied. He’s an incredible player and an incredible person.”
The most impressive part of the 86 rushing yards Mostert gained on 22 carries against the Raiders is the fact he had a heavy limp all week in practice, and is seemingly fighting through some knee and ankle pain.
But none of that stops Mostert from serving as the bedrock of the Dolphins rushing attack, which heads into Friday’s game against the New York Jets ranked second in the NFL in rushing, averaging 143 rushing yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry.
Only the Baltimore Ravens average more rushing yards (155.1) than Miami, and no team averages more yards per carry than the Dolphins.
And it’s not just Achane’s gaudy 11.8 yards per carry average that’s boosting those numbers. Mostert’s 5.3 yards per carry average ranks second in the NFL among qualifying running backs, and the 5.35 yards per carry he’s had in his nine-year career is the third-best in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) among running backs with at least 500 attempts.
Bo Jackson is good company to keep
Only Bo Jackson (5.40) and Jamaal Charles (5.38) have a higher career average.
That’s why the Dolphins need to focus on getting Mostert right, so they can continue to lean on him to balance out the offense in the second half of the season.
The Dolphins offense is at its best when there's balance, and Miami can't afford much more leakage.
“I’m always going to be ready. I believe that hopefully we’ll have my counterpart in Jeff Wilson back,” Mostert said, referring to Wilson, who was made inactive for the Raiders game because of a coach's decision. “It’s always the next man up and that’s the attitude you have to have.”
Fortunately for Miami, Mostert has always been the man at the front of the line when it comes to the tailback room.
The Dolphins spent a month waiting for Achane to come back from the knee injury he suffered in early October, hoping that the sensational rookie would inject more speed into this speed-oriented offense.
Upon his return from the knee injury, Achane contributed 5 total yards on two touches before re-injuring the same knee, which likely requires he be shut down/rested again, allowing the swelling and soreness to subside.
Even though Mike McDaniel described Achane as day-to-day on Monday, we all know that the Dolphins head coach is ultra cautious when it comes to injuries that could linger, with the goal of having Miami be at its best in December games, where playoff spots and seeding are on the line.
That means don’t expect Achane this Friday against the Jets, and he might be shelved more than just that one game.
“I would definitely not rule it out but I would definitely not rule it in either,” McDaniel said when asked about Achane’s status. “We’re just fresh off of a game and we have a short week, so it just kind of compounds the variables. But we’ll take it a day at a time and see how it progresses.”
Until Achane is healthy, the Dolphins likely will be forced to lean on Mostert, Wilson and Salvon Ahmed to carry the backfield.
But we all know who is going to be doing most of the heavy lifting, as he has all season.
And it's quite impressive how much weight, and responsibility Mostert has been able to carry this season.