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  • 2/19, 7:45 am
    • Darkwa is rehabbing from an Achilles...

      Darkwa is rehabbing from an Achilles rupture he suffered during a training session in October,'s Jordan Raanan reports.

      Analysis: Despite leading the Giants in carries (171), rushing yards (751) and rushing TDs (five) during the 2017 campaign, Darkwa was unable to find a landing spot last offseason, with a minor knee surgery in May -- and perhaps an expectation of some guaranteed money -- playing a role in the lack of interest. He eventually settled for workouts with a few different teams, including one for the Jaguars shortly before he injured his Achilles in October. Set to turn 27 at the end of February, the veteran running back hopes to be cleared for football activities in time for OTAs this spring. Darkwa presumably will settle for whatever contract he can find this time around.

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  • 2/19, 7:23 am
    • Ballage's work ethic and athleticism have...

      Ballage's work ethic and athleticism have made a strong impression on running backs coach Eric Studesville, one of the few holdovers from the old coaching staff in Miami, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reports. "[Ballage]'s a big, physical body," Studesville said. "He can run. He's athletic. He's got a lot of growth to do as far as seeing and recognizing things. His work ethic is tremendous. He's got speed for a big man."

      Analysis: A size-speed freak with subpar college production, Ballage was selected at No. 131 overall (fourth round) in the 2018 NFL Draft and spent most of his rookie season playing special teams. He finally got his shot on offense when Frank Gore suffered a season-ending foot injury Week 15, immediately responding with a 75-yard touchdown scamper against Minnesota. The rookie averaged just 3.3 yards on his 35 other carries and 6.2 yards on nine catches, with 12 of his 45 touches (27 percent) going for no gain or a loss. The hit-or-miss style isn't optimal in an offense that already has Kenyan Drake doing a better version of the same thing, but the 237-pound Ballage does at least have theoretical potential to develop into a between-the-tackles grinder if he can improve his vision, toughness and upright running posture. He seems to have support from Studesville, but there's no guarantee other members of the overhauled Miami coaching staff will agree. We'll have a better read on Ballage's dynasty value once the Dolphins start to make some moves during the offseason.

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  • Frank Gore RB-MIA
    2/19, 7:07 am
    • Dolphins running backs coach Eric Studesville...

      Dolphins running backs coach Eric Studesville doesn't know if Gore (foot) will be offered another contract, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reports. "The biggest thing with Frank is let's get Frank healthy and then we will cross all those other bridges," Studesville said.

      Analysis: The Dolphins got a nice return on a one-year, $1.02 million contract in 2018, with the 35-year-old averaging 4.6 yards on 156 carries, though he didn't score any touchdowns before suffering a season-ending foot injury Week 15. The injury isn't expected to require surgery, so Gore should be able to enjoy relatively normal offseason preparation if he wants to continue his football career. The new coaching staff in Miami might not view him as a good fit for the rebuilding process, as Gore's presence could block Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage from seeing more touches.

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  • 2/19, 6:56 am
    • Running backs coach Eric Studesville said...

      Running backs coach Eric Studesville said Drake never complained about his lack of carries (7.5 per game) during the 2018 season, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reports.

      Analysis: One of the few holdovers from the old coaching staff, Studesville said he doesn't want Drake to change his all-or-nothing running style -- something former head coach Adam Gase implied was a primary reason 35-year-old Frank Gore (foot) handled 11.1 carries per game. Gase does have a point that Drake was often stopped for a loss -- 15 percent of carries in 2018 -- but the 25-year-old made up for it with a plethora of big plays, ultimately averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 9.0 per catch with a team-high nine TDs on 173 touches (53 receptions). The new coaching staff would be wise to put the ball in Drake's hands more often, though Miami does have 2018 fourth-round pick Kalen Ballage to absorb some of the rushing volume if Gore moves on or has his role reduced. Studesville said he doesn't know if Gore will be offered another contract.

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  • 2/19, 6:25 am
    • Blount isn't expected to re-sign with...

      Blount isn't expected to re-sign with Detroit before the start of the new league year in March, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

      Analysis: Coming off a 2018 campaign in which he managed just 2.8 yards per carry, the 32-year-old running back likely will need to compete for a roster spot wherever he ends up. There's also some chance Blount could simply retire, as his age, recent production and lack of pass-game skills will make it difficult to land a contract for significantly more than the veteran's minimum. The Lions figure to go in a different direction in their search for backfield depth behind Kerryon Johnson (knee).

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