How is Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake addressing his fumbling problem?

Kenyan Drake is a homerun hitter with one main issue to fix. (AP)

DAVIE—In the Dolphins’ constant search for big-play threats, Kenyan Drake has everything they want. He’s shift, he’s got incredible speed and he’s progressed tremendously in the mental side of it since the team drafted him in the third round last year.

The one big issue is fumbling.

Drake has lost two fumbles on 42 carries this year, including a bad one in Sunday’s loss at New England. In the third quarter, Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers popped the ball out of Drake’s hands as he fell to the ground, and Patrick Chung recovered it for the takeaway.

“I’m my own worst critic, so any time I put myself in a compromising position, whether that’s pass blocking or fumbling, I’m always gonna be way harder on myself than anybody can be on me,” Drake said. “I take it very personal when I do lay the ball on the ground, so two times is already two times more than I ever want in my entire career.

“But being a running back, you have to understand that sometimes those plays happen. You’ve gotta have a short memory and move on.”

The Dolphins weren’t ready to let Drake forget that error and move on. In Wednesday’s practice, they had the running backs work on a ball security drill emphasizing exactly the situation in which he fumbled against the Patriots.

Players worked on protecting the ball with two hands as they fell to the ground, which Drake failed to do.

Miami coach Adam Gase said there are a few things Drake needs to correct, but fundamentally sound carrying of the ball is the top priority.

“I look at that fumble, and it was completely avoidable—and he knows it,” Gase said. “I think he takes a lot of pride in what he does. He wants to be what we expect him to be, which is a guy that can help us move the chains in the run game, be extremely effective in the pass game and knows what to do in protection. He’s a second-year player and we need him to come along as quickly as possible.

“The good thing is when he does get a crease and he hits one, it can be an explosive play. He’s one of those guys. The whole reason we drafted him was he came from a program (Alabama) that a lot of us in our building know who he was coached by and know the kind of work ethic that he had. We liked it and we felt like it fit our culture. We’ve just got to keep pushing him to get better every week.”

Drake and Damien Williams took over the backfield when the Dolphins traded Jay Ajayi last month, and now Drake gets his chance to be the primary running back with Williams sidelined by a shoulder injury. Williams has not practiced this week and is not expected to play Sunday against Denver.

Drake is averaging 4.8 yards per carry with a long of 66 and has 15 catches for 89 yards and a touchdown.

The only other running back currently available is recent practice squad call-up De’Veon Smith. The Dolphins are still waiting to see how Williams and Senorise Perry (concussion) progress before making a ruling on their status for the Broncos game.

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