Running backs coach Eric Studesville said Drake never complained about his lack of carries (7.5 per game) during the 2018 season, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reports.
One of the few holdovers from the old coaching staff, Studesville said he doesn't want Drake to change his all-or-nothing running style -- something former head coach Adam Gase implied was a primary reason 35-year-old Frank Gore (foot) handled 11.1 carries per game. Gase does have a point that Drake was often stopped for a loss -- 15 percent of carries in 2018 -- but the 25-year-old made up for it with a plethora of big plays, ultimately averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 9.0 per catch with a team-high nine TDs on 173 touches (53 receptions). The new coaching staff would be wise to put the ball in Drake's hands more often, though Miami does have 2018 fourth-round pick Kalen Ballage to absorb some of the rushing volume if Gore moves on or has his role reduced. Studesville said he doesn't know if Gore will be offered another contract.
Drake rushed 11 times for 43 yards and caught all five of his targets for 52 yards during Sunday's 42-17 loss to the Bills.
Drake split carries with rookie Kalen Ballage during the season finale, once again serving as a change-of-pace back in Miami's struggling offense. The third-year pro ends the 2018 season with 120 rushing attempts for 535 yards and four touchdowns, in addition to 53 receptions for 477 yards and five scores. Drake managed to lead the Dolphins' offense with nine total touchdowns, despite never exceeding 15 carries in a single game. Hesitation to utilize Drake in a workhorse role severely limited his production on the year, with a lack of pass-protection capabilities being continuously cited as the reason for his lack of every-down usage. Imminent offseason changes to Miami's coaching staff and player personnel could bring about a better situation for Drake come 2019, but until those changes are made his outlook will be difficult to discern.
Drake rushed six times for 23 yards and caught four of five targets for 31 yards during Sunday's 17-7 loss to the Jaguars.
Drake has not seen a notable increase in touches despite the placement of Frank Gore (foot) on injured reserve. The third-year pro split carries with rookie Kalen Ballage, but neither runner was particularly effective during the Week 16 loss -- one in which Miami only managed 183 yards of total offense. Drake has not logged more than ten carries in a single game since Week 8, and his usage heading into a Week 17 tilt against the Bills will be difficult to predict.
Drake (shoulder) was a full participant at Wednesday's practice.
Limited to non-contact work at practice the past month, Drake no longer has any restrictions as the Dolphins prepare for a Week 16 home game against Jacksonville, per Joe Schad of The Palm Beach Post. The third-year pro could take on a bit more work with Frank Gore (foot) on injured reserve, but it was rookie Kalen Ballage who served as the lead ballcarrier after Gore went down in Sunday's 41-17 loss to the Vikings.
Coach Adam Gase confirmed that Drake's lingering shoulder injury had nothing to do with his lack of carries after Frank Gore (foot) was removed from Sunday's 41-17 loss to the Vikings, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports.
More work for Drake might seems like the obvious response to a Gore injury, but the Dolphins instead let rookie Kalen Ballage take 12 carries, which he parlayed into 123 yards (10.3 average) on the strength of a 75-yard touchdown scamper. Drake's snap share landed right in its usual range at 53 percent, yielding one carry for six yards and three catches for 28 yards. While Gore is expected to miss the rest of the season, Drake won't necessarily take on any more work Week 16 against Jacksonville, as Ballage also appears primed for a significant role.
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