Adam Gase loves to tell stories about how crazy Kenyan Drake drove him in 2016.
Drake, the rookie third-round pick, had gobs of talent but not maturity as a rookie, and often drove Gase up a wall.
Now he’s driving the Dolphins’ offense.
Drake has averaged 104 yards in his past three games after totaling 200 in the Dolphins’ first 11 games.
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What brought about this turnaround?
“We all got to grow up one day, right?” Drake said. “It was all about taking that step to maturation, just becoming a professional.”
In short, Drake has made the most of an opportunity he squandered last season. He got the start in Week 3, but rushed for just 37 yards and was passed over in-game by Jay Ajayi and did not start for the rest of the season.
“The more I'm in, the more plays I get, the more comfortable I felt — I was just young,” Drake continued. “I didn't have a lot of experience. Now I have a whole year under my belt. I don't know if it was the same situation this year I would have came in with a different mind-set, knowing what I did last year. It's all about having that experience.”
Drake added: “I feel like, as the game goes on, I get stronger, and I've always felt like that. It just came with opportunity. I'm glad that I'm making the most of the opportunity.”
Jay Cutler has some regrets, too.
After throwing three second-half interceptions Sunday, and perhaps costing the Dolphins a playoff spot, he acknowledged things have not gone great in his first (and perhaps only) season in Miami.
“No. Had our opportunities, didn’t play as well as we wanted to offensively,” Cutler said of the Bills game. “I didn’t play as well as I wanted to. I don’t think you can look at one thing and say, ‘If we changed this, we would’ve won the game.’”
Cutler added: “You’re 6-8. There are a lot of things you look back and say, ‘We should’ve done that better;’ but right now, all we can focus on is getting better as a team and looking forward to KC.”
Still, Cutler (and the entire Dolphins locker room) is grasping the thin reed of still being playoff eligible, if only for another week.
“We know that,” Cutler added. “The locker room knows that. It doesn’t matter the situation. This is a team that’s not going to quit. We’ve done it all year long. We’ve played hard in the fourth quarter, and we’re going to play hard in the fourth quarter this season.”