SHOULD KENYAN DRAKE BE THE #1 RB FOR THE DOLPHINS RIGHT NOW
Opening Shot (Tom)- So I put out an article regarding the running back situation earlier this week and to no surprise, here comes Mike knocking my idea down as usual. First off, let me start off by saying anything that Mike has to offer in this conversation should end up on Comedy Central. What we will be reading will be flat out LAUGHABLE. Let me guess Mike, you are sitting in your chair, salivating over the idea of Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams or even Isiah Pead starting this week for the often injured Arian Foster. Those three guys bring what to the table? Ajayi has flat out been awful and will never live up to his potential. Speaking of potential, Damien Williams was supposed to be the back up last year to Lamar Miller and he went into a black hole himself, with inconsistent play that has now earned him a third string spot. Pead isn’t even healthy, so where does that leave us? That’s right, Kenyan Drake. Why not hand him the keys while Foster is down and out? He can’t be any worse than ANY of these backs, and by the way, RYAN FREAKIN TANNEHILL IS THE LEADING RUSHER. Stop living with mediocrity and give someone else a chance, the hell with the depth chart!
Counter Argument (Mike)- So Tom you aren’t totally off base with wanting to put some young blood in at running back, I like that idea. You are just going about it all wrong as usual. Kenyan Drake should get some more work at RB but he shouldn’t be the #1 Running Back, the lead Running Back, the Bell Cow back, and the workhorse running back for the Dolphins. Kenyan Drake wasn’t even a starting running back at his college, Alabama, and now you want him to be a starting running back on one of the 32 NFL teams only 2 games into his NFL career? Are you nuts? Kenyan Drake has a long history of injuries and hell, before he stepped foot into an NFL mini-camp this year he was injured and missed 99% of camp and the first 3 preseason games. Drake cannot hold up to the pounding of being an every down lead running back in the NFL. Hell, I’m not sure he can hold up being a 3rd down back who plays 30% of the time or so in specialty down and distance situations. Drake is a nice role player and in a year or two when he gets bigger and puts on more muscle he might be a guy who can do a 50/50 backfield with where he shares the workload. But as of today in September 2016 he is far from that type of player. If you make Drake the every down lead #1 running back then keep his spot on IR warm because he will be there by Columbus Day!
Rebuttal (Tom)- How short your memory is. Miami took a chance in 2005 on some back that was second fiddle in college and had a pretty decent career with Miami. Remember Ronnie Brown? Second fiddle to Cadillac Williams before his injury cost him spots in the draft (still top 10 if I remember correct, could’ve been #1 overall if he wasn’t injured). Ronnie Brown went on and produced 1,128 carries (even with injuries), 4,815 yards and 36(!) rushing touchdowns. Just because Drake played behind some solid RB in college, doesn’t mean he can’t produce. He has never been given the chance. He also isn’t a between the tackles back which is what this team needs! They need a running back who can make plays in space, be solid in passing game and create opportunities for the WR by causing major match up problems. Who is going to do that? Mr. Fumblitis Ajayi? Damien Williams who hasn’t amounted to anything? Come on man. If Drake continues to sit on the pine or be used sparingly, we may as well rehire Joe Philbin and Dan Campbell since they let Parker rot on the bench last season even when he was healthy! Drake can be our CJ Anderson in this offense, let him go do it!
Cross Examination (Mike)- Oh Tom, the NFL is like Dog Years. 2005 is like 35 years ago in the NFL world. And Ronnie Brown was a marginal RB at best, a nice RB, not elite. He was very average and he is only known for the “wildcat” and little else (but that is another debate for another day on Mr. Brown.) And just an FYI, Kenyan Drake isn’t even Ronnie Brown, not even close when it comes to talent level. The reason Drake has never been given the chance is because he is a fragile piece of fine china. His college coaches and now his NFL coaches know if you use him too much he will get hurt and break down. There are workhorses and there are show horses, Kenyan Drake is a show horse that you can’t overwork. The other reason why Drake isn’t ready to be the #1 back right now is because he can’t pass block to save his life. Like it or not Ryan Tannehill is this Dolphins team. And we finally got an offensive line who can pass block so Tannehill isn’t getting beaten up each week, we should not, we can not, we won’t risk Tannehill’s health by giving an increase work load to a rookie RB who has never carried a full time workload in his life and struggles pass blocking. It is a recipe for disaster and you are putting Tannehill’s health at risk. I like Kenyan Drake, I like him a lot and in this modern era of NFL where its a wide open offense you need to create mismatches. And Drake is a mismatch nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators. But that’s all he is at this point in time. Throw to him out of the backfield, put him in motion to get a LB on him in coverage, use him here and there on sweeps and running plays. But if you think Drake as of today is a guy you can hand off to 20+ times a game and have him running between the tackles then you have lost your god for saken mind. He would be injured in less than a half if Gase and Co. tried that. Maybe in time after an offseason or two if Drake bulks up some and can stay healthy he could be an every down #1 RB someday, but not now. If you over work this kid now and he gets hurt you will ruin his whole NFL career.
It sounds like Arian Foster won’t be out long, but IF he were out for an extended period, Isiah Pead and Jay Ajai are built to run between the tackles, they can take that pounding, have done it in the past whether in college or prior to this season. Those are the guys you use. Drake has a special role with this team and a bright future, he just cannot be the every down #1 RB for the Miami Dolphins in 2016. I will give you the last word.
The Last Word (Tom)- Mike while I agree with most of what you said, I still believe that the team needs a change of pace. Ajayi cannot be trusted and Pead is as fragile as any running back on the roster, hence being inactive for the first 2 games. If the Dolphins will loosen up (remember, Philbin is no longer here) and do some out of the box thinking, we may have this explosive offense. I am not asking Drake to do anything between the tackles, rather be on the field for outside runs, screens and wheel routes. He causes a defense more headaches then any of the other backs not named Foster. A glimpse is what we need, and we will get that Sunday.