Barry Jackson

Dolphins look to expand Drake’s role; Dolphins, Heat, Marlins tidbits

Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake (32) runs in to score in the second quarter as the Buffalo Bills host the Miami Dolphins at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY on Sat., Dec. 24, 2016.
Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake (32) runs in to score in the second quarter as the Buffalo Bills host the Miami Dolphins at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY on Sat., Dec. 24, 2016. adiaz@miamiherald.com

A quick six-pack of Dolphins, Heat, Marlins and more:

• The Dolphins liked some of what they saw from Kenyan Drake last season, and Adam Gase made clear on Thursday that he wants to see more of him.

“He had some good days and some bad days,” Gase said. “He did a great job when we got him in the game. He made some plays. He’s a guy that we’re looking to lean on a little bit more next year. We’d like to find some ways to get him and Damien Williams in, but at the same time not take away from Jay [Ajayi]. We have three really talented players at the running back position that we’d like to find ways to get in the game. Kenyan’s somebody that we’re really interested in trying to find some good matchups for.”

Drake had just 33 carries for 179 yards last season, a robust 5.4 per carry average. He caught nine passes for 46 yards and averaged 30.5 yards on 13 kickoff returns, including a touchdown.

As for Ajayi: “We do need more snaps on offense, which would entail him getting more carries,” Gase said. “He did a great job off coming along last year. We really felt good with the run scheme we were doing, just sticking his foot in the ground and getting vertical and running through tackles. If he didn’t lead the league, he was up there in yards after contact. It was really a great thing to see, his development throughout the year. Hopefully we can go even further with the passing game. He did a do good job of improving in that area. Hopefully we can take an even bigger step.”

• The Dolphins always have an eye out for developmental quarterbacks, and the organization and Dan Marino privately have challenged Brandon Doughty, who knows he must improve to remain in the plans.

“I need to speed up my feet and reads,” said Doughty, who said he’s exploring working this offseason with Rams quarterback Jared Goff, last year’s No. 1 overall pick. “Marino challenged me to be more vocal, gain confidence. Being accurate is the [most important] NFL skill and I can put the ball anywhere I want to. No doubt in my mind I can play in this league.”

Please click here for my exclusive from earlier today on Isa Abdul-Quddus’ injury.

• The Heat hasn’t shown interest in any of the buyout candidates: There are maturity concerns with forward forward Terrence Jones and position duplication with wing players Omri Casspi (who’s injured anyway) and Marcus Thornton. The Heat would have had interest in Cleveland-bound center Andrew Bogut if Willie Reed’s injury had been more serious.

• Though Justise Winslow is out of his sling and doing rehab after surgery for a torn labrum, the Heat does not expect to return this season.

• The Marlins make clear they’re expecting more offensively from defensively-gifted shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who dropped from .281 in 2015 to .236 last season. His .283 on-base average was third worst among qualifying shortstops.

“He got away from his approach a little bit,” Marlins executive Michael Hill said. “Donnie [Mattingly] and the staff have spoken with him. He knows he didn’t have the year he wanted to have last year. He wants to show what type of player he really is.”

• There won’t a PGA Tour event at Doral this time of year since 1962, and those associated with the Miami event have been given no indication that the PGA is giving any consideration to placing a tournament in Dade or Broward.

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