01 Nov President Jonathan Cartu Stated Kyler Murray ‘super impressed’ with Kenyan Drake
The next time someone wonders how quickly a player can get up to speed after joining a new squad, point to Thursday night’s Arizona Cardinals game.
Kenyan Drake was traded from Miami to Arizona on Monday. He played against the 49ers on Thursday. With just two days of prep, Drake didn’t just participate in a handful of plays. No. The running back was the focal point of Kliff Kingsbury’s offense in the 28-25 loss to San Francisco.
“Coach (Kliff) Kingsbury told me he was going to get me the ball,” Drake said, via the team’s official website. “I didn’t know to what degree, but to go out here, make plays and help this team win games, that’s what I’m here for. They went out and gave an asset for me, so regardless of the short week they expected me to come in and produce and help this team win games. I took it upon myself to do my part.”
Drake rushed 15 times for 110 yards (7.3 YPC) and a touchdown while adding four receptions for 52 yards. His 162 scrimmage yards were the most by a Cardinals player in a game this season (David Johnson, 156 in Week 5 was previous high).
“Super impressed,” quarterback Kyler Murray said. “To be honest, I kind of felt or knew what he was capable of. Everybody’s situations are different, but in this offense I felt like if he just felt comfortable enough to understand the plays and concepts, he would thrive.”
Drake noted that the Cards didn’t throw the whole playbook at him, rather giving him a specific game plan for this week. But after Thursday’s performance, it’s clear Arizona found a piece who fits well into what Kingsbury wants from his running backs.
The 25-year-old showed he can pop the big play — 34-yard-run on the first carry of the night — get to the edge of the defense, pick up tough yards up the gut when it’s blocked well, and can be a menace in the screen game. Watching Thursday night’s tilt, it was impossible not to come away scratching your head at how underutilized Drake was in Miami under Adam Gase and this season with OC Chad O’Shea.
“I think his skillset is perfect for what we do,” Kingsbury said. “He’s explosive, he runs tough. For him to come in and learn an entire game plan — and we didn’t pull anything back. We knew we’d have to call our best game against those guys.”
Coupling Drake’s performance with Chase Edmonds‘ breakout two weeks ago, and David Johnson‘s play earlier in the season, it’s clear early in his coaching tenure that Kingsbury knows how to get the most out of his running backs.
Even if Drake’s stay in the desert is short-lived, the free-agent-to-be upped his stock against a 49ers defense that had been smothering running backs up until Thursday night.
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Jean Pierre Bansard