DAVIE, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins lost 87 percent of their rushing production this week when they traded Pro Bowl tailback Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles. However, the team is confident in the backups ready to take on bigger roles.
Drake, a 2016 third-round pick, is projected to be the starter and has just 25 yards on 10 carries this season primarily serving as Ajayi’s backup.
“I was surprised,” Drake said of the trade. “I don’t think anybody had any idea it was going to go down like that. But it’s a business at the end of the day. So just move on to the next weekend and prepare for Oakland. I’m just trying to go out and help the team win any way possible.”
Dolphins coach Adam Gase said the team did not inquire about other running backs during the trade deadline, adding that he likes the running backs he has.
“When you’re around guys over a two-year period, my confidence level is obviously going to be higher than probably you [in the media], because you’re not around them every day,” Gase said. “You’re not in meetings with them. You’re not in practice every day with them watching them work.”
Drake’s versatility fits the mold of what works best in Gase’s scheme. He’s a home-run threat who also can line up outside or in the slot to create mismatches in the passing game against linebackers. Pass-catching and running routes were weaknesses of Ajayi, who tried to improve in that area this past offseason.
Williams is a four-year veteran who knows the offense well, is tough and has made timely plays during his career with Miami. Before the Ajayi trade, Williams was Miami’s third-down back. It remains to be seen how much, if any, his role will change. But Williams probably will get more opportunities after recording just 12 carries for 32 yards in the first seven games.
“It’s not like every time a back touches the ball he’s out there by himself,” Landry said. “There’s 10 other guys he’s counting on to get their jobs done. So it’s going to come down to all of us regardless of who’s touching the ball. That’s the biggest thing.”