Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins hope to get ‘a long look’ at Arian Foster vs. Falcons

The Dolphins are being conservative in the preseason with veteran running back Arian Foster, but he will get more work Thursday against Atlanta.
The Dolphins are being conservative in the preseason with veteran running back Arian Foster, but he will get more work Thursday against Atlanta. AP

Arian Foster’s got jokes. Here’s one from the Dolphins locker room Monday.

Asked how much work he needs during the preseason to be ready for Week 1in Seattle, Foster sarcastically (we believe) responded:

“Thirty-seven reps.”

How did you come about that number?

“It's an algorithm.”

What's the formula?

“We can sit here and talk mathematics if you want to.”

So if you get those 37 reps ...

“I'll be good to go.”

Bad news, Arian: It’s hard to see how you get those 37 reps by the preseason finale on Sept. 1.

Doing so would take far more exposure to injury than coach Adam Gase probably prefers.

We’re midway through the exhibition season, and the veteran running back has been on the field for just nine snaps. They all came in last Friday’s loss to Dallas.

And Foster was basically a decoy in those nine plays. He carried the ball twice and wasn’t targeted once. And on each of those carries, the run blocking failed him.

“We didn't have much to evaluate,” Gase said. “Whatever carries he had, there wasn't much there to try to create. He did a couple of things on his own. Hopefully we can take a long look at him this week. I don't want to overdo it with him. Obviously, his resume speaks for itself.”

That it does. Foster, who turns 30 Wednesday, ranks 10th among active players with 6,109 rushing yards.

So expect Foster to again split time with Jay Ajayi when the starters are on the field Thursday night against the Falcons, a game held at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium.

And if all goes well, you might not see him again until the season opener. Teams often rest veterans in preseason game No. 4.

“The preseason's about knocking the cobwebs off, getting back in the groove, seeing things you haven't seen in a while, just getting a feel for the game,” Foster said, who called these exhibition games “kind of a glorified practice.”

“You still go out there and treat it like a workday,” he added. “You never want to embarrass the logo on your helmet. Everybody has pride, but you have to keep things in perspective.”

Good advice for anyone freaking out over the Cowboys’ drubbing of the Dolphins. Miami’s running game was non-existent in Dallas and its defense mustered absolutely no resistance.

But Gase doesn’t believe there’s a correlation between how a team looks in the preseason and how it will perform on Sundays in the fall.

“You’ve got to get certain guys ready,” Gase said. “You’ve got to evaluate certain guys. The hardest part is, when you have to play a full game, a lot of things change in the second half.”

The Dolphins intend to keep their starters in the game into the second half Thursday, so their first team might run something in the neighborhood of 40 snaps.

Ajayi got more than twice the number of reps as Foster against the Cowboys, so if it’s a similar split Thursday, Foster can expect around 13.

That would give him just 20 snaps for the preseason. And there’s no way he’ll get 17 more in the exhibition finale. He might not get one.

So Foster, most certainly, was just joking about the 37-snap threshold. He does so drily in his banter with reporters all the time .

Here’s another example:

Foster said he was encouraged because the offense showed improvement against the Cowboys from the week before.

When asked for specifics, he deadpanned:

“We got a first down,” Foster said, before adding more seriously: “Everybody has to be on the same page or else none of it will work. We're all gelling and I feel confident.”

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

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