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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake embraces Frank Gore’s veteran presence, for now

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

There certainly has been turnover in the Dolphins backfield over the last two years. Consider, that coach Adam Gase began his first season in 2016 with veteran Arian Foster expected to carry the load, but he abruptly retired midway through the first part of that year.

The Dolphins then turned to second year Jay Ajayi, who made history with back to back 200 yard rushing games, on his way to a monster Pro Bowl season that helped the Fins make the playoffs.

However, by October of last year, with the Fins offense sputtering, Ajayi was essentially singled out as a part of the problem by Gase and dealt to the Eagles.

Then, Miami turned to Kenyan Drake down the stretch. As we wrote then, Drake got off to a great start as a feature back in a game with the Broncos, but it didn’t necessarily bode for him to be the long term solution. 

He did average 18 carries a game in the last five contests, but that was more out of necessity, especially when the other reserve, Damien Williams, suffered a shoulder injury. Clearly, Miami was still searching.

And, they entertained signing the Titans veteran Pro Bowler DeMarco Murray last month, but passed on him. Instead, they elected to sign free agent and former Miami Hurricanes star Frank Gore to a one year deal.

Gore is 34, and has run for over 14,000 yards with the 49ers and Colts. He’s clearly at the end of his career, but if his health holds up, he will likely be installed as the Fins starting back for next year.

Drake said Friday at a Dolphins charity golf event that he welcomes the new veteran, and what he will bring to the running back room, practice field, etc. Speaking to Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post, Drake elaborated on having Gore as a teammate and new mentor,

He epitomizes longevity and I can only hope to have half the career that he’s had. That would be a success in my book. Just having him on this team, to help the team win more games, and to help myself become a better person, I felt like he was definitely going to help me do that.” 

There’s no doubt Drake can learn from what Gore can bring every day.

There’s also no doubt that VP of football Mike Tannenbaum and GM Chris Grier will draft a young running back, and maybe soon in the upcoming first few rounds, to compete with Drake and with Gore.

So, Drake will need to embrace that challenge at yet another level, if he wants to get playing time and more carries in 2018.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. John

    April 14, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Do you even watch the games. Drakes numbers were among the best in the league after he took over. And you have him behind Gore. Terrible article.

  2. Bizz

    April 15, 2018 at 3:59 am

    i highly doubt that Gore will start over Drake. i believe he was brought in to be the backup and lighten Drake’s load. he will probably be used as a goal-line and short yardage plays.

  3. Michael Murray

    April 15, 2018 at 8:31 am

    What a terrible article.Thanks for wasting my time. I hope you don’t get paid for this.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill on track to be back Sunday?

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It’s an encouraging Monday in South Florida, as it relates to the injury rehab for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Now, the real question is: will we see the veteran back on the field Sunday against Indianapolis?

Coach Adam Gase met with the media Monday with the Dolphins coming off their bye week, and shared encouragement that Tannehill looks on track to be able to play soon. In fact, he’s back throwing a football for the first time since being shut down the week after the loss to the Bengals:

In that game in October, Tannehill took a couple of significant hits in the fourth quarter meltdown and suffered what was eventually revealed to be an injury to the shoulder capsule. He did try to practice on the following Wednesday, and apparently the throws got worse and more painful, as the workout went along.

Tannehill ended up not taking any of the throwing reps in the Thursday or Friday practices, the Dolphins ended up hiding that point and were eventually fined by the NFL for listing him as “questionable,” when they knew he was not going to be able to play in the game with the Bears.

Veteran backup Brock Osweiler quarterbacked the team to the dramatic overtime win over Chicago that weekend, but there’s been little success since. In fact as Miami dropped two of their last three games, they had a nine quarter stretch without scoring an offensive touchdown.

Still, at 5 – 5, the Dolphins are on the verge of the AFC playoff picture and Gase has a decision to make about how soon he brings Tannehill back, as opposed to going with a healthier Osweiler at least for this week at the Colts.

Tannehill helped the Dolphins get off to a 3 – 0 start to the season, but that was with a more talented and healthy receiving corps than what they currently have. Free agent acquisition Albert Wilson has been put on injured reserve with a hip injury and the Dolphins, will also put Jakeem Grant on injured reserve with an Achilles injury suffered in their loss to the Packers eight days ago.

Veteran deep threat Kenny Stills has been bothered by a groin injury, but the hopes are that the extra week of rest with the bar I will help him for the stretch run of the season. Also, former number 1 pick DeVante Parker, who has seen his role increase with all of the injuries, had his left arm in a sling after the Packer game and his status is not known.

Back to Tannehill, as you probably know, he missed all of 2017 after ACL surgery and now, with having missed another five games to this point, there are question marks about his long-term future with the Fins?

So Gase has to weigh all of that in the decision-making of when to bring Tannehill back in a season that could still be salvaged down the stretch

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins beaten up every way possible after latest loss in Green Bay

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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Make no mistake, the Dolphins season is not officially over at 5 – 5 headed in the bye week.

It just looks and feels that way.

Mostly, it does, because the Dolphins are banged up, not only physically, but also it appears emotionally and psychologically. So, much so, they don’t appear to have a whole lot left for the stretch run.

Let’s start with the actual physical injuries and that began Sunday with the inactives. The Fins starting offensive line was minus Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James, which were not unexpected. However, after being able to practice some this week, former number 1 pick defensive end Charles Harris was not able to play against Green Bay today, either.

Then, as the game wore on, it was one Dolphin leaving after another. Whether it was Kenyan Drake with a shoulder injury in the first half or Bobby McCain with a concussion in the third quarter or when receivers Jakeem Grant and DeVante Parker both had to leave on the same Drive, it was tough to watch the Dolphins walking wounded.

The biggest fear is for the smaller but explosive Grant, who may have torn his Achilles in the third quarter. Grant was already suffering from Achilles tendonitis and came up hobbling right away on a slant pass and could not put weight on the foot. He was then carted shortly thereafter to the Dolphins locker room.

Coach Adam Gase offered no real update on Grant’s status other than that it’s a wait-and-see. As for Parker, same thing is being hoped, even though, the media reported him walking around in the locker room after the game with his left arm in a sling. You combine those injuries with Kenny Stills being slowed by a groin injury and Albert Wilson already out for the year having hurt his hip a few weeks ago, and the Dolphins may be looking for Mark Duper or Nat Moore to come out of retirement at this point.

Bigger than just the physical injuries, the Dolphins appear spent in the figurative sense as well. The frustration mounted as Aaron Rodgers continued to carve them up throwing darts all over the football field Sunday night in the Lambeau cold. He finished with only 195 yards passing, but did have two TDs. And, they marched on the Dolphins defense, whenever he wanted.

It was almost as if Miami was just helpless to do anything against him, and they are watching their season wind down.

Consider that backup quarterback Brock Osweiler was not able to spark the team for the third consecutive game. So poor is the offensive output, that Miami has not scored a touchdown in their last nine quarters dating back to the Thursday night loss in Houston.

The Dolphins aren’t playing with any confidence, at least from the guys that are replacing the injured players. Remember, with Miami at full strength early in the year  they got off to a 3 – 0 start.

So, the bye week comes now and perhaps, starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill shoulder will be healed enough that he can practice in 10 days and maybe play at Indianapolis. It’s anybody’s guess as to who, out of the names above, will actually be healthy enough to help Tannehill and the Dolphins for the final six games.

Finally, even though Miami would appear by record to be very much in the hunt for an AFC wild-card spot, they don’t look like a playoff team.

No. They’re banged up and look like a team that will be watching the postseason like everybody else.

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Miami Dolphins

Gameday- Dolphins travel to chilly Lambeau Field

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Dolphins (5-4) at Packers (3-4-1)

When: Sunday 4:25 p.m.

Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI

Spread: Packers by 10 points (Courtesy of VegasInsider.com)

Here’s what to watch:

Continue with takeaways
As double-digit underdogs at Lambeau, the Dolphins really only have one real shot to win this game with the Packers – turnovers. And lots of them.
Granted it was rookie quarterback Sam Darnold last week, but the Fins four interceptions, including Jerome Baker running one in for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, were the difference in the game. Whether it’s a strip sack of Aaron Rodgers or being able to get an interception or maybe two off of him, Miami has got to take the football away.
It hurts the Fins that linebacker Kiko Alonso, who we wrote about earlier this week is questionable with an ankle injury, but it looks like he will try to play.
Still, they other veterans on defense have got to pick up the slack and try to make something happen.
Don’t let Rodgers pick you apart
Well that’s a simple phrase above, it’s going to have to be a goal of Miami’s to not give the veteran Pro Bowl quarterback all day to throw and allow him to dissect the Dolphins secondary. Green Bay barely gives the illusion of trying to run the ball, they instead use the short passing attack with Rodgers throwing it to pick up short-yardage, convert third Downs, Etc.
If Miami pass-rushers like Cameron Wake, Robert Quinn and hopefully active after missing a few games with a calf injury, Charles Harris, can make Rogers life difficult than the fans have a better chance to hang in in this one.
Being efficient on offense
There’s no way that Miami can win a shootout against Rodgers, as backup quarterback Brock Osweiler and the weapons Miami has aren’t built for that right now.
However, the Fins can run it some with Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore and the Packers defense has been susceptible a lot of this season. Osweiler needs to convert third downs and move the chains and when Miami gets chances to score points, even field goals, they have to capitalize.
If they fall significantly behind on the road in chili Green Bay, it will be an ugly day..
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