Miami Dolphins

Dolphins’ Kenyan Drake, Xavien Howard hold their own in NFL debut

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) chases Tennessee Titans wide receiver Andrew Turzilli (86) in the second quarter as the Miami Dolphins host the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium on Thurs., Sept. 1, 2016.
Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) chases Tennessee Titans wide receiver Andrew Turzilli (86) in the second quarter as the Miami Dolphins host the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium on Thurs., Sept. 1, 2016. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Xavien Howard wants to start.

Kenyan Drake simply wants to play a part.

Both got what they wanted Thursday night.

The Dolphins finally saw what rookies Howard and Drake could do in a game situation, and probably emerged relatively pleased.

Howard, the second-round corner out of Baylor, only surrendered one catch against the Titans Thursday -- and that was negated by penalty.

And Drake did what he does best: catch the ball out of the backfield. He got open deep and pulled in a 33-yard floater from Brandon Doughty. Drake also averaged 22.5 yards on two kickoff returns.

“It was good to be in one game at least before the bullets really starting flying next week,” said Drake, who found the sledding tough on the ground. He had just six yards on four carries.

Drake missed the first three preseason games with a troublesome hamstring. Howard, meanwhile, had been held out by a knee injury he suffered in June.

Howard said starting in Week 1 “matters to me a lot. ... It's a good feeling to start off like that. I did OK. I could do better.”

Howard’s evaluation is nice, but Adam Gase’s is the one that matters.

And post-game Thursday was a bit too early to make any sweeping generalizations.

Gase believes Howard had “pretty tight coverage” on the lone completion and said Drake “had a couple of good plays.”

Gase added that he hoped “to get [Drake] some more carries” but the flow of the game didn’t allow it.

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

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