Kenyan Drake is listed as the starter on Miami’s depth chart, ahead of Kalen Ballage

DAVIE — Dolphins coach Brian Flores says Kenyan Drake is one of the most talented players on the team, and he predicted the running back will be heavily involved on Sunday.

Drake, the fourth-year running back, feels ready to go.

“My hard work needs to mirror that sentiment that he is trying to echo to me,” Drake said Tuesday. “Like I said, continuing to harness my process and making sure that I am healthy to go out there and have those touches to help this team win games.”

Drake was listed as Miami’s first-string running back, ahead of second-year player Kalen Ballage, though both figure to be heavily involved against the Ravens.

“What matters to me is starting the season off 1-0, so my ultimate focus is Baltimore no matter what my role is,” Drake said. “I keep trying to tell you all from the day I stepped foot on this team, especially with (Brian) Flores at the helm now, it is just about going out there and proving yourself every day that you can go out there and help this team win games.”

Drake has missed three weeks with a foot injury but proclaimed himself fully healthy. And he doesn’t foresee any issues catching up to speed as a rusher or receiver on Sunday.

“If you all paid attention in camp, we were hitting a lot regardless, and it doesn’t really change with this season,” Drake said. “Even today, we were out there in full pads. You can only have a certain amount of full-padded practices during the season; but regardless, we are all thudding out there and we have shoulder pads and there is a physical way that we kind of practice. So, I don’t really feel like I have to go out there and press the subject in terms of getting hit or trying to feel my way around the game. Just go out there and play ball like I always do.”

Flores seems to realize he’s going to need a big contribution from Drake this season.

“I think he’s both physically and mentally ready,” Flores said. “This is a guy who has as much talent as we have on our team. He’s fast. He’s physical. He’s explosive. He makes a lot of plays, and we’re looking forward to getting him a lot of touches this week.”

Miami running backs coach Eric Studesville stressed both Drake and Ballage will be involved.

“I don’t know how that is going to go yet,” Studesville said. “I really don’t. I don’t have a definitive answer for you. I think what we have to do is put those guys out and put them in positions to be successful and then figure out what is best for us and what is going to give us the best chance to win and compete every week.”

Things were made more difficult for Miami’s offense when Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills were traded away last week.

“It is a hard-nosed business,” Drake said. “I’ve got those guys in a group chat from earlier in this year, so I wish those guys nothing but the best of luck. I’ll try to keep in contact with them, through their career, and through this season, because it means a lot for me to see them have success. But what we can focus on right now is Baltimore and going out there and putting everybody in the best position to win these games no matter who steps up.”

@schadjoe

jschad@pbpost.com

To sign up for a free Dolphins newsletter, click here.