Dolphins running back Frank Gore’s sprained foot is expected to sideline him for the remainder of the season, according to a league source.
A decision on whether he will eventually need surgery hasn’t been made.
He finishes the season with 722 yards rushing, on 4.6 per carry, and 12 receptions for 124 yards. Gore has started 122 consecutive games and that streak will end.
Gore needed 154 yards over the final two games (combined rushing and receiving) to tie Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith with an NFL-record 13 consecutive seasons with at least 1000 scrimmage yards. That won’t happen now.
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Gore, 35 years old and an impending free agent, has been non-committal about whether he will play beyond this season.
Gore had five carries for 14 yards Sunday before leaving with the injury.
The surprise, in the aftermath of that injury, was that Kenyan Drake had only one carry for the day, for six yards, while rookie Kalen Ballage had 12 (for 123 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown at the beginning of the third quarter).
Coach Adam Gase used Drake more in the passing game, and he caught three passes for 28 yards.
Though CBS said Gase was being cautious with Drake because of an ankle injury, Gase said he doesn’t recall saying anything like that to CBS and said the fact Drake got only one carry was a coaching decision.
“For that game, that was our best option,” Gase said. “That long run [Ballage] had, that’s how he runs every day. Every day in practice, we watch the same thing. When he gets a carry with the offense, he finishes in the end zone. It’s a good trait to have.”
Gase said “there were some times we tried to dial stuff up to Kenyan but allowed a sack or pressure and couldn’t get the ball to him.”
Drake made clear Monday that he would not complain about lack of carries; “he gets paid to make those kind of decisions and I get paid to play ball,” he said. He instead blamed himself for how he played Sunday. “I had a lot of mental busts,” he said. “I failed to do my job.”
Drake ended up playing 28 of 53 offensive snaps, with Ballage playing 26, Gore seven and Brandon Bolden three.
RUN DEFENSE FALTERS
The Dolphins are allowing 145.2 rushing yards per game, which ranks 31st in the league, and permitted 220 (5.5 per carry) on Sunday against Minnesota.
But Gase said the blame for that extends well beyond the defensive line.
“Our money is on the edges,” Gase said. “Cam Wake does a great job setting the edge on his side. We haven’t been consistent setting the edge on the other side whoever it’s been over there [among Robert Quinn and others]. It takes a full group to stop the run. D-line can’t do it by themselves.
“Linebackers have to fit where they’re supposed to fit. Safeties have to fit where they’re supposed to fit. If we do let them get the edge, we have to tackle the corner. Nobody did anything well yesterday. Minkah [Fitzpatrick] had close to the best game out of our group but still had his mistakes. That was a great play [by Fitzpatrick] on the pick six.
“We didn’t play well enough as a group. We always want to say d-line, d-line. It takes 11 guys to play well in the run game. If they are giving up their gap — then that’s an issue there. But that’s not always the case. It’s we don’t fit something right or we miss a tackle or when we pressure, we have two guys popping their head in the same gap. That kills you. We make that mistake too much.”
▪ The Dolphins are allowing 402 yards per game, which would be worst in franchise history. Previous worst: 383 per game, two seasons ago (Gase’s first as coach).
Also, the Dolphins have permitted 5632 yards in 14 games — which is more than the 5475 that the Dolphins’ 2007 team that went 1-15 allowed (5475).
JONES SAYS ROLE CHANGED
Reshad Jones said one reason he hasn’t made as many plays in the running game as past years is the Dolphins changed his position this year.
“They got me playing free safety this year,” he said. “For the last seven years of my career, I have been playing strong safety. They moved me so now I’m back more. I can play back. I can play up. I’m a versatile safety. I’m not really tripping.”
Does he wish Dolphins coaches hadn’t made that position switch?
“Whatever is best for this team,” he said. “I am here to play football. I can’t coach and play [simultaneously]. If you look at the film, I missed two tackles the past five weeks. I have been making my plays. The opportunity that’s been given, that’s the only thing I can go with.”
He said he won’t request a move back to strong safety and defensive coordinator Matt Burke hasn’t given him a reason why he was moved in the first place.
“If they don’t see the need to move me back [to make me] more effective, that’s on them,” Jones said.
Does he feel he could help against the run more if he were in the box more? “Of course, of course,” he said.
The Dolphins believe Jones is better suited to playing free safety than strong safety T.J. McDonald would be. And they haven’t put Minkah Fitzpatrick at free safety in recent weeks because he’s needed at cornerback.
McDonald’s status for the rest of the season is in question because of an ankle injury.
▪ Receiver DeVante Parker played only 19 of Miami’s 53 offensive snaps on Sunday – a precursor to his expected departure this offseason. The Dolphins would clear his non-guaranteed $9.4 million 2019 salary completely off their cap by cutting him.
By contrast, Kenny Stills played 51 offensive snaps, Danny Amendola 39, Brice Butler 25 and Leonte Carroo one.
At tight end, Nick O’Leary and Mike Gesicki each played 25 snaps and Durham Smythe 19.