On Halloween 2017, Dolphins fans were horrified by what transpired with the Jay Ajayi trade and the extreme overreactions even led to fans calling for Adam Gase being fired. After Monday night’s performance, Gase seems to have unleashed a beast in Kenyan Drake and is proving all the trade doubters wrong. This is not the first time Gase has been doubted and questioned for making statements. After he cut Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas last season, many thought that he would make an already terrible offensive line, even worse.
Drake’s 193 total yards, 30 touch performance against the reigning champion Patriots was a nail in the coffin in the starting running back race, especially with Damien Williams only returning to practice on Thursday. Kenyan Drake has gone for 334 yards and a touchdown in the last two weeks. This has been Drake’s breakout stretch with Damien Williams injured. Drake has claimed the starting job, even when Williams comes back. Kenyan’s development and potential has been projected since he was drafted in 2016 out of Alabama and if he can continue to handle the workload of an NFL RB, the Dolphins will not need to draft a feature back, but rather a complementary back to help Drake. This is assuming that Damien Williams will find a better opportunity and not return to the Fins next year.
On the other side of the ball, 2016 second round pick, Xavien Howard, has seen great times and horrific times in his first two years in the league. Over the last three games, Howard been targeted 17 times with 4 passes defended, 4 interceptions, two of which were on Monday against Tom Brady, and allowed 2 completions for only 30 yards, with a 0.0 Passer Rating Allowed versus TB12. How many corners or secondary players can say that about facing Tom Brady?
Howard has been a very debatable draft pick after dealing with injuries early on in his career and not necessarily impressing and playing to his full potential. I give him a pass though because he had to face receivers such as AJ Green, Doug Baldwin, Sammy Watkins, and Larry Fitzgerald, all within his rookie year. This year he has had to face a healthy Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, Demaryius Thomas, and most recently, Brandin Cooks, allowing all of them to 0 yards. Howard is starting to show why he was highly touted coming out of Baylor and both him and Drake, if healthy, will be a staple of these Dolphin units for a while to come.
***Breaking News***: Dolphins and Jarvis Landry have begun discussing parameters of new contract extension. Dolphins told Landry that they wanted to see growth on-and-off the field before the year and Jarvis has done just that. Hopefully, we see an announcement very soon that the extension is being finalized and that Jarvis Landry will be a Fin-for-Life.