Barry Jackson

Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase is excited about this rookie running back

Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase on the sidelines as the Miami Dolphins host the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, December 31, 2017.
Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase on the sidelines as the Miami Dolphins host the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, December 31, 2017.

A six-pack of Miami Dolphins notes on a Thursday:

Fourth-round running back Kelan Bellage can expect lots of snaps on special teams as a rookie this season.

But he will need to impress as a ball-carrier and receiver to compel Adam Gase to find snaps for him on offense behind Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore. Gase likes his skill set.

"He’s a big man that runs fast and can catch the ball well," Gase said Thursday. "He really has all of the things that you’re looking for in an all-around back. It’ll be fun to see how he progresses and how things go … how quick he learns everything and how he fits in with the group.

"You just kind of need that open competition. You just want to try and create as much competition in practice as possible and when we get to the preseason, see who kind of really steps up and pushes themselves to the forefront. Then when we get into the season, we’ll figure out the best way to use everybody.”

​As we reported in Thursday's print edition of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins have decided to leave T.J. McDonald at safety instead of moving him to linebacker, as Adam Gase confirmed Thursday.

But it’s expected that Reshad Jones, Minkah Fitzpatrick and McDonald likely will be on the field at the same time in certain situation. One NFL source said the Dolphins covered their tight ends with linebackers more than other teams, and that’s something that needs to change. Drafting Fitzpatrick is a good first step.

​An associate of Gase said one quality about Danny Amendola that made him appealing was how intelligent he is, and how that manifests itself as a leader and in his route-runner.

Gase said of Amendola on Thursday: "I think when you’ve got a guy that’s been in a lot of big games, has won a lot of games, made plays in big games and the professionalism you just see it. The way he walks around, there’s just something about him that guys kind of gravitate too. They kind of want to watch how he does things. The way that he’ll grab guys … The younger guys follow him. It’s interesting to watch just Drew [Morgan] and Isaiah [Ford] just following him around mimicking a lot of the things he does."

​We hear receiver Isaiah Ford, the team’s seventh-round pick in 2017, has looked good in offseason workouts — a year after his rookie season was wiped out by a preseason knee injury.’s Lance Zierlein originally had projected Ford as a fourth- or fifth-rounder. Zierlein’s scouting report before the draft: “Tall but thin, Ford uses his suddenness to uncover all all three levels and his speed to climb over the top and stress defenses vertically. His play strength is concerning as NFL cornerbacks will consistently challenge him off the line of scrimmage. He also has to prove he can be effective when facing zone coverage. He has the height and scheme to be a deep ball manece in the right scheme. Superb athlete with good height [6-1].”

If the Dolphins keep six receivers, the battle among Ford, Leonte Carroo and others (Rashawn Scott, Malcolm Lewis) should be interesting.

Asked what has held Carroo back, one source cited conditioning and speed.

​ Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson lists tight end Mike Gesicki, the Dolphins’ second-round pick, as one of the top five candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year, with quarterbacks Baker Mayfield (Cleveland) and Sam Darnold (Jets), running back Saquon Barkley (Giants) and receiver Calvin Ridley (Falcons).

Monson’s take: “Mike Gesicki put together one of the greatest workout displays at the NFL Scouting Combine that the event has ever hosted. He is every bit the athlete that Barkley is, and that next-level athleticism shows up on tape, but he was underused at Penn State. He can be a red-zone weapon, but also has the dynamism to stretch the seam and make plays after the catch, and with Miami’s offense he could be fed the ball a lot. Last season, Gesicki dropped just 3-of-60 catchable targets and scored more touchdowns from the slot than all but two other tight ends in the nation.”

​Quick stuff: Defensive tackle Terrell McClain, who visited the Dolphins over the weekend and the 49ers on Monday, is reportedly visiting Dallas on Thursday. He remains a Dolphins possibility… Though the Dolphins have Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson to replace Jarvis Landry in the slot, keep in mind that Kenny Stills averaged 16.5 yards per slot reception last season, second-most among all NFL receivers, according to PFF…. Kenyan Drake’s 4.3 yard average AFTER contact was best in the league last season, per PFF.

▪ The Dolphins waived former UM and ex-Cleveland Browns cornerback Tracy Howard with a failed physical designation. Howard joined the Dolphins practice squad last December. He appeared in 15 games for the Browns in 2016 as an undrafted free agent.

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