Kenyan Drake busted out on Monday night with his best game of the season, and a kick in the pants from his mother was all he needed.
Drake was held to 35 yards on 13 carries in the Arizona Cardinals’ Week 4 loss to the Carolina Panthers. A week later he rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in a win over the New York Jets.
Drake’s mother was not satisfied with her son’s performances and talked to him about going more north-to-south and hitting holes.
On Wednesday, Drake recounted the conversation between them while speaking with the media.
“My mom called me before the game. The first thing she did is she told me ‘I’m your mom and everything, but are you going to hit some holes today?’ It really hit home when your own mom is not liking what she sees out there,” Drake said.
Drake says he focused on hitting the holes more and less on going horizontally. The result was 164 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries — Drake’s best game of the season.
Drake had a bold prediction about the Cardinals for this season and they are living up to it. If he keeps listening to his mom, they will continue their success.
After some questions about how much of a schedule the NFL would play in Week 4, a mostly full slate of games went ahead on Sunday. The schedule was slightly reduced, but there was no shortage of excitement and drama. There was also plenty of disappointment, too, as some teams and players with high expectations fell flat.
Here are five big disappointments from NFL Week 4.
What is happening in Dallas? Nothing good, as they got absolutely torched by Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham, and the Cleveland Browns. Turnovers played a huge role — the Cowboys fumbled on back-to-back drives in the second quarter, setting up short touchdown drives for Cleveland both times. The big concern is a “soft” defense that gave up 508 yards and 49 points to the Browns, even as the offense produced at a high level. The Cowboys are now 1-3, and their season needs to turn around quickly.
The Lions have had a double-digit lead in all three of their losses this year. Even when they’re up, it’s started to feel inevitable that things will turn on them. That happened again on Sunday against the Saints. The Lions jumped out to a 14-0 lead. Then the Saints scored 35 unanswered points. Matt Patricia appears incapable of turning things around, and the team can’t play 60 full minutes. A coaching change feels inevitable.
Kenyan Drake, Cardinals
The Cardinals were generally disappointing on Sunday, losing to a Panthers team without Christian McCaffrey. Drake is definitely a concern at this point, though. He was expected to be the lead back in an explosive offense. Instead, he has one touchdown and was held to 35 yards on 13 carries Sunday. Part of that was the game script going against him, but it continues a string of underwhelming performances from the running back.
Nick Foles, QB, Bears
Perhaps Foles leading the Bears to a comeback win last week raised expectations too high. He was poor on Sunday against the Colts, throwing for a modest 249 yards with an interception. His lone touchdown came in garbage time, and was too late to make any difference in the outcome. Foles hasn’t actually won a start since 2018. He remains a superior option for the Bears than Mitchell Trubisky, but he’s still not a leading NFL starting quarterback.
The dire predictions some made when DeAndre Hopkins was traded away in exchange for David Johnson are coming true. The Texans’ offense is a mess. Deshaun Watson doesn’t know what to do, his offensive line is not protecting him, and Johnson has not looked like his old self any more than he did in Arizona. The Vikings have been brutal defensively this season, but the Texans still only came up with a modest 386 yards. That’s not good enough, and it suggests that it wasn’t just tough opposition that was causing the Texans to go winless.
Kenyan Drake sent a funny tweet about fantasy football over the weekend.
The start of the NFL season is nearing, which means it’s time for fantasy football drafts. Drake has that in mind and thinks he can help fantasy players to a championship.
Drake was in a walking boot on Monday, but that shouldn’t stop his emergence this year.
The 26-year-old was drafted by the Dolphins in 2016 but only used by them in a limited role. He was traded to Arizona last season and exploded. In eight games for the Cardinals, Drake rushed for 643 yards and eight touchdowns. He also caught 28 passes for 171 yards.
Arizona traded David Johnson to Houston over the offseason and now will have a big role in store for Drake.
If you have the Arizona Cardinals down as a potential breakout team in 2020, take comfort in the fact that Kenyan Drake agrees with you.
The Arizona running back told NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” on Thursday that he thinks the Cardinals are ready to “take the league by storm” in 2020.
“I feel like the hype is warranted, to be honest,” Drake said, via Nick Shook of NFL.com. “When you add arguably the best receiver in the league in DeAndre Hopkins, the most electric quarterback in the league in Kyler Murray, you add me to the fold, you add a couple more pieces to the O-line, on defense, you draft a (Swiss Army) knife in Isaiah Simmons, shore up the D-line and bring in other people to build a great puzzle… (That’s) what we have in Arizona. I feel like we’re going to go out there and really take the league by storm, especially our division.”
Drake felt that the Cardinals were too inexperienced to really break out in 2019, but things are different now. Kliff Kingsbury’s offense did win plaudits, but more consistency and better defensive play is needed if the Cardinals are going to live up to Drake’s lofty expectations.
Drake himself will be a big part of those expectations. He ran for 643 yards in eight games after Arizona picked him up last year, though the Cardinals only won two of those games. Clearly, that hasn’t put a damper on Drake’s enthusiasm.
Most NFL players reach the point in their career where they’re seeking a long-term contract, but things simply aren’t working out. Sometimes that situation course corrects, and sometimes it doesn’t.
However, consistent quality play will often pave the way for those players — especially during a contract year. And as we head into 2020, these five players find themselves in that exact situation. Now they’ll need to step up.
A lot of NFL players get frustrated when hit with the franchise or transition tag. Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake is not one of them.
Drake said he thought he was in a good financial situation after receiving the transition tag from the Cardinals, and was not bothered by the organization’s decision.
“With them tagging me, it wasn’t really a slap in the face or anything,” Drake told Darren Urban of the team’s official website. “They wanted to get a gauge on my market and everything happened how it did. With me signing the tag, it put me in a pretty decent position from a financial standpoint, especially amongst my fellow running backs. I’m fortunate they saw in me what I see in myself, and hopefully we can continue to work on a long-term deal in the future.”
Drake getting the transition tag was a bit of a surprise, as it will ensure that his salary is the average of the top ten salaries at his position unless a long-term deal is reached. That’s a pretty big boost in salary, so it’s easy to see why Drake is perfectly okay with that. Plus, another productive season will see him hit the open market as an in-demand runner next offseason.
Drake ran for 643 yards and eight touchdowns with Arizona last season in eight games after being acquired from Miami.
Kenyan Drake gave the Arizona Cardinals an instant boost on offense when they acquired him in a trade last season, and they are making a clear effort to keep the running back on their roster in 2020.
The Cardinals have informed Drake that they are placing the transition tag on him, according to multiple reports.
The transition tag is different with the franchise tag in that it still allows a player to negotiate with other teams in free agency. However, the Cardinals reserve the right to match any offer sheet Drake might receive from another team. If he does not sign an offer sheet and the Cardinals are unable to work out a long-term extension with him, Drake’s salary for 2020 would be the average of the top 10 highest-paid running backs in the NFL.
Drake exploded for the Cardinals down the stretch after they acquired him in a trade with the Miami Dolphins, rushing for 363 yards and scoring seven touchdowns over Arizona’s final three games. Drake averaged 6.0 yards per carry through that span and looked to be a great fit in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense.
The new league year is coming up soon, and that means the NFL’s most wild time — free agency — will be here before you know it. The run on top free agents will last roughly 48 hours before things settle down and organizations look to what remains in an attempt to not only fill out their rosters, but to also find diamonds in the rough.
Here’s a look at five players who could be impact signings but will likely fly under-the-radar initially.
5. Kenyan Drake, running back
Drake continues to draw praise from me, but until NFL executives and coaches get it right and make this guy a bell cow, he will end up on these types of lists. After beginning the season with the Miami Dolphins and performing moderately well, Drake was traded to Arizona. In Week 9, he erupted with 160-plus scrimmage yards and a score. Drake carried that through the remainder of the season, finishing the year with a career-high 817 rushing yards and eight touchdowns to go along with 50 receptions for 345 yards. Drake is not currently considered a top 50 free agent (seriously, how is that possible?), and will be an absolute steal for someone out there. Still just 25 years old, Drake’s prime is coming.
4. Shelby Harris, nose tackle
Free agency will be stocked full of quality defenders at all levels this year, which will allow players like Harris to very legitimately fly under-the-radar. In 2018, Harris became a more well-known name as a dominant rotational guy, which led the Denver Broncos to increase his role in 2019. However, more substantial playing time led to some visible weaknesses in Harris’ game, and he trailed off a bit down the stretch (one sack over his final nine games). That’s not uncommon for a relatively young player with an increased workload, but as a result, his value will drop below players like Chris Jones, Arik Armstead and Leonard Williams, who are also hitting the open market. But don’t sleep on Harris, who has a clear upside and a lot of growing to do. It’s only going to take one GM to see that.
3. Troy Hill, cornerback
At 5-foot-11 and 183 pounds, Hill’s lack of size is going to cause many to turn away and assume he just can’t excel at the NFL level. He’s already proven that to be a false reality. While Hill does struggle against some of the larger and more physical wide receivers that are becoming prevalent in today’s NFL, he has proven himself to be a valuable shutdown No. 2. That will cause some to cringe because who’s really looking for a great No. 2? Well, the answer is anyone with a quality No. 1. Once Jalen Ramsey arrived in Los Angeles, Hill suddenly found his niche, dominating secondary receivers and finishing the season allowing just 45.1% of passes thrown in his direction to be caught for a passer rating of 54.9.
2. Austin Ekeler, running back
Ekeler isn’t quite as “under-the-radar” as some of the other players on this list due to his emergence as a quality fantasy football option, but when teams go out looking to sign running backs, his name isn’t likely to top the list. Derrick Henry, Melvin Gordon III and Kareem Hunt will draw the lion’s share of attention, but like Kenyan Drake, Ekeler has a tremendous upside, and we saw a glimpse of that when he started in place of Gordon, who was holding out early in the season. Ekeler finished the season with 1,550 scrimmage yards (557 rushing yards, 993 receiving yards). He is a restricted free agent, which adds a little murkiness to the waters, but depending on what the Chargers decide to do with Gordon, Ekeler could become a viable option for several teams in need of a versatile running back.
1. Joe Schobert, linebacker
Schobert is an interesting player who took an equally interesting path to the NFL. He went from college pass rusher to professional linebacker, where he excels not against the run or getting after the quarterback, but also in coverage. In fact, Schobert is one of the better coverage linebackers in football (four interceptions in 2019), and although he experienced a bit of a slump in 2019, it’s clear the arrow is pointing up. Coverage backers are rapidly becoming key components against today’s spread offenses, but in the right system, Schobert could hone in on that college pass rushing experience and become more of a dual threat. Yes, he’ll need to improve against the run, but that can be coached if he lands in the right place. The potential is there, the pieces are there and the will is there … someone just needs to help Schobert put it all together.
The Miami Dolphins have been shopping running back Kenyan Drake ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, and they have finally found a place to send him.
Drake will be traded to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a conditional 2020 draft pick, ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported.
The Cardinals have dealt with multiple injuries at the running back position, as David Johnson was sidelined on Sunday with an ankle issue and Chase Edmonds left the game with a hamstring injury. Drake could be in line for significant work on Thursday night against the San Francisco 49ers, as Johnson is expected to be out at least one more week and Edmonds’ status remains unclear.
Drake has averaged just 3.7 yards per carry on 47 attempts this season, though he was playing for the worst team in football. He found himself in former Dolphins coach Adam Gase’s doghouse at times last season, but he’s a former third-round pick who has flashed signs of being an explosive player. Depending on how severe the injuries are for Johnson and Edmonds, the Cardinals could lean on Drake heavily down the stretch.
Despite Frank Gore’s early exit on Sunday, Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake received just one carry, and it had nothing to do with an injury.
Drake has been bothered by a shoulder injury, but coach Adam Gase said that was not a factor in the decision to barely use the running back, relying instead of Kalen Ballage after Gore went down.
Essentially, Drake looks to be pretty deep in Gase’s doghouse. He’s made some high-profile mistakes and hasn’t had double-digit carries since Oct. 25 against the Houston Texans. One has to wonder about his future with the organization.