The Miami Dolphins have felt the injury bug shake up their offense in the past week. They most notably saw running back Kenyan Drake miss the team’s second preseason game with a foot injury and waived battling wide receiver Saeed Blacknall after he obtained an undisclosed injury.
Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage
Drake had slipped into a position battle with second-year running back Kalen Ballage out of Arizona State, but exited last Tuesday’s training camp practice early and did not return. He emerged Wednesday in a walking boot and did not practice.
“He’s got a little injury, and I think we – he’s just going to take it day to day,” head coach Brian Flores said.
With Drake out for the Dolphins’ second preseason game last Thursday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, all eyes turned to Ballage. Ballage was projected to start the game and looked to create some distance between himself and Drake to make more of a case to be named the starter.
Instead, Ballage didn’t play. Multiple sources confirmed Miami kept him off the field to keep him safe in case it needs him to take full reigns for the team for the start of the regular season. However, the Dolphins exercised all other first team starters who did not sport an injury designation.
In their places, running backs Patrick Laird, Myles Gaskin, Mark Walton and Kenneth Farrow saw game time. Laird lead the approach in the loss and carried the ball seven times for 51 yards (7.3 yards per carry). Gaskin carried the ball six times for 17 yards (2.8 YPC), Walton carried the ball five times for eight yards (1.6 YPC) and Farrow carried the ball three times for 41 yards (13.7 YPC).
Saeed Blacknall cut, Dolphins WRs still battling
Miami announced Tuesday that it waived WR Blacknall after he sustained an unknown injury. Blacknall had just one catch for 25 yards on three targets in the game against Tampa Bay.
Notably, Blacknall was in a large receiving battle to make the 53-man Dolphins roster with fellow WRs Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, Brice Butler, Isaiah Ford, Reece Horn, Trenton Irwin, Allen Hurns and Preston Williams. If they weren’t enough, the Dolphins brought in undrafted free agent T.J. Rahming who was waived a little less than two weeks ago by the Washington Redskins.
“I think we’ve got a few guys here. I think we’ve got a good receiver group. I think we need to play better, some of these guys,” Flores said. “I think Preston’s (Williams) come on. You guys have seen that. DeVante’s (Parker) had some good practices, and we just need more consistency. Kenny (Stills) – obviously, he’s had some production in the past. We need to get more production from him and just continue to build at that position. Albert (Wilson), obviously. I think we’ve got a good group.”
According to multiple reports, Miami is looking to keep six or seven of those WRs on the official roster come the regular season.
Additionally, Flores is expecting the team’s third preseason game to be a dress rehearsal for the regular season and wants to crack down on making notable cuts and solidifying some starters. However, with injuries in the backfield and the receiving core, Flores is going to have a difficult time bringing that hope to fruition.