Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said the decision to start Lamar Miller over Daniel Thomas in Sunday’s season opener was “the starting point really” and that both backs had a strong preseason.

“I think they’ve improved both of them and we definitely need those guys to perform well for us” Philbin added. “I think [Miller] played well. I think he caught the ball well ran the ball well. I thought Daniel did as well. It’s very very close.”

The Dolphins announced the move late Monday with the release of their first depth chart of the regular season.

While Philbin saw the two backs as neck-and-neck the preseason stats told a different story. In five games Miller had more yards (72 to 52) more touchdowns (1 to 0) and a better yards-per-carry average (4.2 to 2.7) than Thomas.

Thomas said that the first he had heard of the decision was when reporters told him about it Tuesday.

“It’s cool” Thomas added. “We’re all going to get pretty much the same amount of reps. It’s not a problem.”

Thomas a third-year rusher out of Kansas State expects he and Miller will share the work load the way he and Reggie Bush did in 2012. Bush had 227 carries last year; Thomas had 91.

“I don’t want to say there’s no pressure at all” Miller said. “It’s just more excitement knowing I’d be getting an opportunity to help this team win.”