DAVIE—Damien Williams was one of the Dolphins’ biggest individual success stories last season after the previous staff didn’t seem to see much playmaking ability in him. Neither Williams nor Adam Gase would portray it that way, but he went from playing 15 percent of the snaps in 2015 to being second on the team touchdowns last year.
He had 35 carries for 115 rushing yards, plus 23 catches for 249 receiving. His eight total touchdowns were second only to Kenny Stills’ nine.
Williams is back for his fourth season in Miami and will continue to have one of the most diversified roles on the team. He’s a running back, obviously, but Gase likes him inside and outside at receiver, plus he’s a dangerous kick returner.
As he gets ready for the upcoming season, which could put him in position for big payday, here’s a conversation with Williams after today’s practice.
When you’re out here in training camp day after day, do you need that variety in your role to keep you engaged?
“It for sure keeps you engaged. You have to deal with the heat and think about everything (Gase) is throwing you at you, so it keeps your mind in it. He’ll throw something at you that we went over last year and he expects you to know it right away. It’s fun for him to throw stuff at you. It makes you lock in more.”
What’s been the funniest thing that’s happened in camp so far?
“We had a little scuffle at the end zone (Monday) and all you see is Coach (Shawn) Jefferson running over there full speed and diving in headfirst just to break it up. His feet were in the air. You can see it on film. It’s hilarious.”
I don’t know what your role was in that fight, but there were two guys trying their hardest to keep you out of it.
“Yeah. I was trying to get there, but they wouldn’t let me in it.”
So you weren’t really part of it, but you wanted to be.
What’s on your mind going into the season?
“I just want to help my team more. When I get a chance to change the game, I want to change it. And every time I touch the ball, I would like to score.”
Jay Ajayi’s out with a concussion at the moment. He’ll probably be back soon, but hypothetically how would you feel about handling a more traditional running back role in his absence?
“Next man up. Jay can run the ball, but there are guys here who can run the ball just as well. If someone goes down, whether it’s Jay or somebody else, you have somebody ready to go. If Jay ever goes down in a game or whatever, I’m gonna be ready and Drake’s gonna be ready.”
You did the work, but how much do you credit Gase for boosting your breakout year?
“I credit him for a lot of it, and to Ryan (Tannehill) for putting my name in his head. I was always that guy who came in, from my rookie year to now, and said, ‘Whatever you guys want me to do, I’ll do it to my fully ability.’ He came in and saw that and started trying new things with me. I was ready to do it.”
Are they adding to your role, or is it more a case of trying to perfect what did last year?
“I feel like we’re gonna take that and try to perfect it, but who knows what Coach Gase has up his sleeve? He always likes to try new stuff and see which guys can do certain things. You never want to be one-dimensional. You want to be versatile, and I showed him that I can do multiple things at once.”
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