DAVIE – The need to get the ball into the hands of Kenyan Drake has been a weekly issue with the Dolphins’ toothless offense.
Coach Adam Gase’s explanation about why this remained a glaring omission during the pathetic offensive showing in Sunday’s defense-fueled win against the Jets didn’t instill confidence in the architect of the blueprint.
“There were a few opportunities where we were trying to do certain things with Kenyan that didn’t work out the way we wanted to where we were trying to get him the ball,” Gase said. “I felt like we were trying to get him the ball. I felt like we had some chances for some matchups with linebackers. The way they were covering with the safeties on the tight ends, we thought [linebackers on Drake] was going to be a healthy matchup for us.
“We got caught in a couple of coverages that were not ideal when we were trying to do that.”
Basically, Gase is acknowledging that Jets coach Todd Bowles outfoxed him. The offensive mastermind wasn’t able to find a way to get the ball to a key asset with room to operate on a day that nothing else worked for Miami offensively, either (168 net yards, seven first downs).
Drake, who stood out when he became the starter at running back down the stretch last season, has been increasingly stuck in a secondary role behind Frank Gore.
The Dolphins like that Gore hits the hole quicker, consistently grinds out the tough yards. But Drake is a much bigger threat to bust a big play. He leads the Dolphins with five touchdowns (three rushing, two receiving), including a 54-yard run against the Lions.
Nonetheless, he has gotten double-digit carries in only two of the past seven games.
Against the Jets, he had three attempts for nine yards, while Gore got 20 carries for 53 yards, an average of 2.7 yards per attempt.
“Some of the runs that we ended up calling when Kenyan was in there, they weren’t ideal looks for us,” Gase said. “We got thrown out of a couple of them. At the end of the day, we always want to try to have more of a balance with the rushing attempts between those guys. Usually it should be with Kenyan probably more targets. Frank, it’s probably with a couple of more rushes. We don’t want to be that far apart.”
Drake did catch four passes for 26 yards.
Last week, amid preparation for the Jets, Dolphins offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains explained the outlook on Drake.
“Kenyan is a guy that can do a lot of things,” Loggains said. “… in the course of a game, when the matchups are advantageous, he’s a guy that obviously has matchup plays and he’s a guy you game plan around. We’re going to keep using him in different ways and different spots.”
While the game plans continue to fall short of getting the most out of Drake, Loggains also hinted that Drake is also viewed as a developing talent.
“One of the areas that we keep working that he needs to keep improving on it is in the open field and sometimes trusting his speed, because he can outrun angles and those things. He runs through arm tackles. He’s a guy that when the ball is in his hand, he can score for you.”
It starts by getting the ball in his hand.