Dolphins starting running back should not be a competition

Miami Dolphins

Frank Gore’s had an excellent career, but if the 35-year-old beats out Kenyan Drake for the starting running back spot it’s going to end badly for Miami.

It’s very likely that Frank Gore is going to have a statue in Canton one day. That doesn’t mean the future Hall of Famer needs to be the starting running back for the Miami Dolphins in 2018. The team desperately needs Kenyan Drake to step up and beat out Gore for the starting gig.

Curiously, the team remains non-committal about who their top back is at the moment. Running backs coach Eric Studesville is adamant that he doesn’t know who the starter is yet. Instead, he’s looking to see how things will “play out over time.” That’s far from a ringing endorsement for either rusher.

Gore almost got to the 1,000 yard mark last season for the Colts, but it took him a ton of carries to get there. His average of 3.7 yards per carry is a large reason why Indianapolis let him go this summer. At 35 years of age, it’s very unlikely that he’s going to experience a sharp uptick in Miami. Gore is much more likely to see his yards per carry average continue to decline as time goes on.

In sharp contrast, Drake will only be 24 this season. His career should be on the rise. The third-year pro didn’t rush for as many yards as Gore last season, but he was far more efficient. His 4.8 yards per carry average is much more in line with what Miami are looking for out of a starting running back.

The harsh truth is that Ryan Tannehill isn’t good enough to carry this offense with his arm. Even if the receiver group turns out to be one of the top-10 collections in the league, they’re not going to put up video game numbers. The Dolphins will depend on the running game to move the ball consistently.

Bludgeoning opponents with a battering ram like Gore just isn’t going to cut it. The coaching staff will need Drake’s ability to produce bigger plays. If he can’t beat out the elder statesmen it could be a long year for scoring points in South Florida.

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