Barry Jackson

Dolphins trade of Ajayi might not be the most curious decision at running back this year

Miami Dolphins' Kenyan Drake (32) runs for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers on Monday.
Miami Dolphins' Kenyan Drake (32) runs for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers on Monday. AP

Some Dolphins notes on a Thursday evening:

• Since trading Jay Ajayi, the Miami Dolphins have given Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams 16 carries apiece.

Drake has gained 151 yards on those carries, thanks primarily to two long runs of 66 and 42 yards.

Williams has gained 33 yards.

That’s quite a disparity for the same number of chances.

Drake has a 6.8 rushing average this season on 26 carries. Williams has a 2.3 average on 28 carries.

Yes, Williams has toughness and is a good receiver out of the backfield and does things exactly how Gase wants them done. We get it. Gase loves Williams.

But Gase was asked Thursday how he would explain to Dolphins fans why Williams is starting.

“We look at it as really they’re both starters,” Gase said. “They’re both going to play. Who’s out there on the first play of the game is really irrelevant a lot of the times, because we go three wide receivers, one tight end or two tight ends and two wide receivers.

“We could put them both out there one game. What does that mean? It’s really irrelevant. We have a good feel of how we want to roll those two guys.”

So has Drake done enough to warrant more carries?

“No,” offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said. “I don’t think so yet. I think we just keep doing it. We keep doing it with the two of them both doing it and we’d love to get him more carries. It’s not that he doesn’t deserve more carries, but I don’t see us changing the formula right now.

“I do think that keeping him fresh, that helps. It does change it. All of a sudden, if you play an extra 20 snaps … You don’t have to call the game any different when one of them is in than the other, and that helps. I think it will stay the same formula.”

• Linebacker Rey Maualuga has now played three offensive snaps in a fullback type role and the results have been good. He had two snaps on offense against Carolina. Is that all that’s realistic?

“You can do it 30 plays if you want,” Gase said. “That was just kind of the situation that we felt like it was good for us with what we wanted to do, what we had in. We didn’t get to a couple things that we liked. We’ll just kind of keep seeing where that goes.”

• Christensen’s assessment of the two new offensive line starters last week:

Right tackle Jesse Davis “did a solid job. I think he would love to have five or six plays back; but overall, I don’t think he was a factor. There is one that that’s a very good defense and a good rush team and they didn’t sack us. There’s a positive as you look hard for one.”

Left guard Ted Larsen also “was solid,” Christensen said. “I think (it’s the) same thing, that he wasn’t a huge factor in the game, which is a compliment. I was probably more worried about him than Jesse (Davis) just because you can’t simulate the contact and the physical-ness of playing inside there, and especially with (the Panthers) having such a good inside player (Kawann Short). For him to hold up in there was really good.

“I think he probably has five or 10 plays that he’d love to have back; but for a guy coming off of IR, that’s a big stage. That’s good inside players, big good inside players (on the other team) and I thought he held his own and did OK. I was encouraged and I think it will get better and better and better – him and Jesse – just the more they settle in there.”

• Though Jakeem Grant joined Sinorise Perry on kickoff returns against Carolina, the Panthers kicked only to Perry, who averaged 21.8 yards on those four returns. Special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi likes what he saw.

“Sinorise is a guy I always had a high opinion of,” Rizzi said. “He did a really good job. Didn’t dance. Didn’t go sideways. Was very decisive. Jakeem will be back there as well. It’s a double-headed monster.”

But Perry missed practice Thursday with a knee injury.

Here’s my Thursday piece on the Dolphins’ front seven, which has unraveled in the past month.

Here’s my Thursday piece with a longtime GM explaining why the Marlins should totally torch this roster.

Here’s my Thursday piece with a six-pack of Hurricanes nuggets, including the NFL acknowledging several UM players.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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