|Miami Dolphins running back Steve Slaton (23) Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J.- AP|
After bursting onto the NFL scene in 2008 with the Houston Texans where he led all rookies in rushing, Steve Slaton is trying to show a new team that he can be a key contributor. Days after getting cut by the Texans last month, Slaton was claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins.
Slaton had fallen out of favor with the Houston coaching staff after injuries and fumble problems and the emergence of Arian Foster. Slaton slipped so far down on the Texans depth chart, that he would be inactive for some games. Finally, the Texans cut ties with Slaton and he is now trying to find a role on his new team.
The Dolphins signed Reggie Bush in the offseason and think that they have a potential stud in Daniel Thomas. Thomas has been plagued by injuries in his rookie season, and Bush has been hampered hamstring problems. Last week against the New York Giants, Thomas was out for the game and Slaton received the 2nd strings workload behind Bush who rushed for over a hundred yards in the loss.
Slaton was used in short-yardage situations in the game. He had three carries in a goal-to-go situation in the game before scoring a TD. He finished with 7 yards on 6 carries in the game.
The area where Slaton may find the most playing time this season, assuming that both Thomas and Bush remain healthy, is returning kicks. Slaton had 3 kickoff returns for 85 yards in the game.
"It felt pretty good," Slaton said. "It has been a year since I've been back there. So, I'm just trying to get my wheels right and get the looks down."
"I think it's just a matter of getting more reps because as of now, I don't know every single return in the playbook," he continued. "I just go week by week. But the more and more I know what the returns are, I think I'll feel comfortable just going out there and making plays."
One of Slaton's returns in the game was a 42 yarder, the longest return on the season for the Dolphins.