MIAMI GARDENS – Leading up to the Dolphins Week 13 contest against the Denver Broncos, Dolphins coach Adam Gase made it clear that he prefers the a running-back-by-committee approach.
“I don’t know if I’m ever going to have feature back-type situations,” Gase said. “I like using multiple guys. I like guys moving in and out and I like having guys that can do multiple things and really put pressure on the defense where they can’t focus on one thing. I don’t know. We might be out of that game.”
Twenty-three carries and 120 yards and one rushing touchdown later, second-year running back Kenyan Drake might have very well changed Gase’s mind.
The road to Drake’s career day wasn’t easy. He had just 55 yards on 14 carries at the half, but he exploded in the second half when he made a defender miss in the hole, and sprinted 42 yards down the field for a touchdown.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) December 3, 2017
Drake is tied with Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt and Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard for the league lead in runs of 40 yards or greater with three. Both Hunt and Howard have over 100 carries this season, Drake has just 65.
Drake averaged 5.2 yards per carry against the Broncos and is averaging 4.9 yards per carry on the season. If he continues to produce at a high level, Gase will have a difficult time turning back to a two-headed rushing attack with Drake and Damien Williams.
Drake can do it all. He can run, he can catch and he continues to improve in pass protection. While Williams is talented and should certainly have a role in the offense, it is clear that Drake is the Dolphins’ best back.
Gase might have thought he was done with having a featured running back on his team when the Dolphins dealt Jay Ajayi to the Eagles for a fourth-round pick. However, it would behoove him to continue getting Drake double-digit touches in order to consistently move the football on the ground.
Drake’s speed, versatility and vision could be an essential part of the Dolphins offense for years to come – as long as Gase gives him carries commensurate with a feature back.