Dolphins newcomer Frank Gore on Kenyan Drake: 'I kinda see why they traded Jay Ajayi'
Dolphins coach Adam Gase listed Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake as co-starters on the team’s first depth chart (his words, not mine), but it doesn’t sound like Gore minds sharing the starting job with Drake. It turns out, Drake has already impressed Gore so much that Gore understands why at last season’s trade deadline.
On Monday, Gore complimented Drake by backing up the Dolphins’ decision to trade Ajayi, who rushed for 1,272 yards in 2016.
“I was like, ‘Man, I kinda see why they traded Jay Ajayi,'” Gore said, per the Palm Beach Post. “He’s very talented. Jay Ajayi was a great back, too, but Kenyan is a very talented guy. He’s smart. He can do everything on the field. I think that me and him can really help this team be successful this year.”
After Ajayi departed Miami, Drake flourished in the nine remaining games of the regular season, racking up 851 yards from scrimmage (619 rushing and 232 receiving) and four touchdowns while averaging just north of 5 yards per carry. According to Jason Lieser, Gore was specifically talking about what he was thinking as he watched film of Drake’s performance against the Broncos last season. In that game, Drake rushed for 120 yards on 23 carries and added 21 yards through the air. He followed up that performance with a 193-yard outing against the Patriots. The next week against the Bills, he totaled 113 yards.
That three-game stretch provided the Dolphins with some evidence that Drake could be the multidimensional back that offenses crave in today’s NFL. Now, the hope has to be that with Gore — a future Hall of Famer who ranks fifth all-time in rushing yards — mentoring him, Drake can find prolonged success, beginning immediately next month.
While Gore is a fine addition, the Dolphins don’t want to be put in a situation where they’re relying heavily on a 35-year-old running back who’s averaged 3.8 yards per carry over the past three seasons. In a perfect situation, the Dolphins will use Gore as a compliment to Drake and as a mentor for Drake.
But … when’s the last time things have unfolded perfectly for the Dolphins?