Barry Jackson

Dolphin eager to show he’s more than a specialist; Fins nuggets

Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake (32) dives over the goal line in the fourth quarter as the New England Patriots host the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, September 18, 2016.
Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake (32) dives over the goal line in the fourth quarter as the New England Patriots host the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, September 18, 2016. adiaz@miamiherald.com

A six-pack of Dolphins notes with Cleveland visiting Sunday:

• Kenyan Drake, a part-time player at Alabama with only six career starts and never more than 14 carries in a game, is eager to show Sunday he’s more than a specialist, more than simply a change of pace or third-down back.

“People see my speed and think my game is not balanced,” he said. “I can be physical. I’m not afraid of contact. I [can be] an everydown player.”

• Dolphins rookie cornerback Xavien Howard said he’s more comfortable playing press coverage but is being allowed to do it only half the time, and seems to allow too much a cushion at times when he’s not.

Meanwhile, Ryan Tannehill said he feels especially comfortable in the no-huddle, but Miami isn’t doing it all the time.

So why is that the case on both of these issues?

On the no-huddle issue, Adam Gase doesn’t want to exhaust his defense if there are 3-and-outs early in the game.

“We do a lot more practicing in the no-huddle and I like it… but we need to be good at both,” Tannehill said.

As for the issue of press coverage: Though Howard and Byron Maxwell are better in press, the Dolphins say that’s not the best defense in certain offensive formations.

• Count NFL Network analyst and former Seattle fullback Michael Robinson among those losing patience with Tannehill.

“At some point your play has to match your salary,” he said. “29-[37] as a starter, never had a winning season, never reached the playoffs…And 23 percent of this guy’s games he produces zero touchdowns. If you’re making $18 million a season, 23 percent of my games – a quarter of the time I’m on the field – I’m not producing any points for you?”

Tannehill is making $9.3 million this season before the boost to $18 million next season.

• Some fans attending the University of Miami’s game against Florida Atlantic at Hard Rock Stadium complained about several leaks that caused some fans sitting under the canopy to be soaked during a deluge.

But Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel said those leaks shouldn’t happen again because work on the roof has now been completed.

When UM played its first two home games, “some of the paneling hadn’t been sealed, so there was pooling of water,” he said.

Because rain typically “doesn’t fall straight,” Garfinkel said some fans close to the field could get wet in a downpour, even if they’re under the canopy.

“It wasn’t intended to completely protect in the rain,” he said.

Bill Senn, who managed the construction project, said 90 percent of seats are covered by the canopy, with some end zone seats extending beyond the roof.

• Gase’s assessment so far of Tannehill: “He has been really good as far as the decision making goes. There have been very few times where I’ve really thought, ‘Are we just trying to get the ball to this guy?’ I don’t even thing that’s really happened in a game, yet. He has done a good job of sticking with what our progressions are, what the coverage is dictating. It can get tough.

“If you ever have one of those games where one of your better players isn’t getting the ball and you try to force one to him, the discussion I’ve had with him is, ‘Every time I’ve ever tried to get somebody the ball, it just never seems to work out.’ When you kind of let it happen naturally, that’s when it usually starts building as the game goes on.”

• Former UM star Duke Johnson got just three carries (for 12 yards) for Cleveland last week, and Browns coach Hue Jackson said the fact he’s playing before friends and family in Miami on Sunday will have zero impact on his playing time or how often he gets the ball.

“I am very excited,” Johnson told the Browns’ web site. “It’s going to mean a lot. Other than my mom, a lot of my family doesn’t get to see me play. Playing in front of my whole family is something I haven’t done since college.”

For a look at NFL TV maps for today – including where the Dolphins game is being televised – and an important TV development with Thursday’s Dolphins-Bengals game, please click here…. Please follow me on Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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