Changes at running back

The Dolphins have been in the market for a running back ever since Ricky Williams stunned everyone with his retirement, and they pulled the trigger on a deal Wednesday by acquiring Rams backup Lamar Gordon in exchange for a third-round pick in next year's draft.

The trade hadn't been made official as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, but Gordon was at Dolphins headquarters and Coach Dave Wannstedt already was talking about his new player.

Wannstedt did say he wouldn't expect Gordon to be ready to play in Sunday's season opener against Tennessee, but he did say it might not take Gordon that long to learn the Dolphins offense because it is similar to that run by the Rams.

Gordon, drafted in the third round by the Rams in 2002, became expendable after St. Louis drafted running back Steven Jackson in the first round this year.

Gordon is a back with good size and tremendous speed, but he was considered a very raw talent coming out of Division II North Dakota State.

His potential alone makes it likely he will get the bulk of the carries for the Dolphins before too long.

The trade, in essence, means the Dolphins got Gordon and wide receiver Marty Booker in return for defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, and it's difficult to argue with that kind of value.

Gordon's arrival comes at a time when there are a few question marks in the backfield.

First, there's fullback Rob Konrad, who already has been ruled out of Sunday's opener after undergoing thigh surgery on Tuesday.

Wannstedt said rookie free agent Doug Easlick was working with the first-team offense, but it's more likely you'll see the Dolphins use a one-back set or move Sammy Morris back to fullback this weekend.

Because of Morris' versatility and what he showed in the preseason, he still should be a contributor on offense despite the arrival of Gordon. But it's questionable whether the same will hold true for Travis Minor, who really struggled in the preseason after being given first shot at the starting job.

Wannstedt has said Minor would start against Tennessee, but also quickly added that he could see a scenario where Morris got 20 carries and Minor got 10.

So don't be surprised if Minor becomes a forgotten man on offense or is used almost exclusively as a third-down back.

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