We’re in that part of the year where Summer is right around the corner and everyone is getting jazzed for finding all the free time they can to get ripped up on vacations, golf tournaments, their own backyard, where ever they could. Equally however, everyone is getting all jazzed in anticipation for the NFL to start once again. So, they hit up Twitter to consume every report out of every camp from every real deal beat writer to every pseudo analyst they can find all to hear just about the same thing and that’s that the coaching staff really likes a certain player. Full disclosure: every team and coaching staff thinks every player is looking good during OTAs. My point is, not much is happening now nor is anything that interesting going on right now. In a few months, business will be picking up. That being said, the Dolphins RB coach Eric Studesville came out and has said that the RB position is not all sewn up and that it will be a competition. As per Armando Salguero,
Yay for competition and all that but I’m rather sure anyone with a full functioning brain knows that when the Titans of Tennessee come to Miami on Sept. 9th, that Kenyan Drake will be the starting back. We all have heard the stats a few times since the end of last year. Drake finished the year with 644 yards rushing and was the NFL’s leading rusher in the last 5 weeks of the season. He also had 32 catches for 239 yards. It’s because of this and partly because I’m sure he will look real good throughout all the of season mini camps and then training camps later in the Summer why he will be the opening day starter. I’m sure there will be all types articles written with headlines such as ‘Coaches Think Drake Can Take The Next Step” or “Is Drake The Evolution Of The Running Back Position?”, or some other form of those types of thoughts that get fans really tingly.
But, this doesn’t mean that Drake is the bell cow back and there will only be scraps for the rest of backfield. After looking at the whole league, I only feel that there are 8 teams that I would consider a team that pretty much only utilizes 1 running back. Miami is not one of them. Miami added the ageless one Frank Gore and drafted Kalen Ballage in the 4th round. Gore and Ballage are going to see the field and they’re going to see the field in crucial moments in games. Drake isn’t a guy who is ever going to get many 20 carry games. He might get 20 touches in a few games but even that will be few and far between. I can see Drake getting taken out late in games if Miami is trying to run out the clock and I can certainly see him getting taken out in short yardage situations. On 3rd down, he’s very valuable so he gets a bump there. I can easily envision times where Drake starts the game, gets shut down on the first two possessions, Gore goes in and runs hard between the tackles and Miami rides his hot hand for a bit. I easily can see that happening. Ballage will probably get very few carries early on and then out of nowhere he’ll gets like 10 carries and no one will understand where that came from. Predictably, there are already whispers of Miami really liking Ballage and think that he has a real chance of making a difference on this team this season. Well no duh it’s possibly a 4th round rookie running back can make an impact in his first year. It’s happened about a million times. Also, it’s worth remembering that Miami will be a pass first offense regardless of how much they preach about balance. We’ll find that the scales swing in the direction of passing more often than not, which will make Drake’s catching ability keep him on the field more.
And let it be said, I think having multiple backs is a good thing. The more talented players the better. I just believe that Drake will have much more opportunities to shine this year. Gase is smart enough to get him the ball and to let him do what he does best like he did last year. I don’t think I’m breaking any ground with that thought. But Gore and Ballage and who the hell knows who else will have times where they are needed to step up in big spots. RB is a revolving door position where one week you have a guy who’s the best back in the league for that week and then a month later they’re getting 5 carries a game and guys get injured frequently at that position for obvious reasons. Just how this stuff works.
PS- Another future headline about Drake will be “Drake Looking To Take His Game To The Next Level” That will be a fun one to read
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