Frank Gore’s old. Like, “took handoffs from Johnny Unitas” old. Like, “voted for George Washington” old. All right, maybe not that old, but Gore’s going to be 35 when the NFL season starts, which in running back terms is like Roman ruins-old. And yet! The Miami Dolphins believe Gore’s going to be a key player in this year’s offensive attack. Questioned about Gore’s age, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said, “It’s irrelevant. He’s a different dude.”
Different how? Let’s discuss.
How old is Frank Gore, exactly?
While 35 isn’t exactly old in normal human years, in NFL terms — particularly for contact positions like running back — it’s positively ancient. Gore was a freshman on the 2001 University of Miami national championship team, and he went to San Francisco in the third round of the 2005 NFL draft. (Also in that draft: Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, DeMarcus Ware, and plenty of other now-retired notables.)
Gore spent the majority of his career in San Francisco, and the last three in the Luckless pit that is Indianapolis. He’s never totaled more than 1,695 yards in a season, but he’s been in the four-figure range every year. That kind of productivity will likely land him in fourth place on the career NFL rushing leaders by the end of September, behind only Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, and Barry Sanders. Longevity is a virtue, folks.
What role will Gore have in the Dolphins’ offense?
Hopefully an active one. Despite all the high hopes for Gase and the potential for a no-huddle attack, Miami’s been a stagnant team the last two years. As noted in the Dolphins season preview, Miami ranked 24th in yards in 2016 and 25th in 2017.
“Obviously we want to run an up-tempo, no-huddle offense,” new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said this offseason, according to the Dolphins’ transcripts. “That’s what Adam has done in the past and that’s where our vision is and we’re trying to get going that way.” It remains to be seen how a 35-year-old Gore could fit into that, although the Dolphins have shown a strange aversion to giving the rock to fellow RB Kenyan Drake.
Realistically, this year for Miami will start and end with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but if Gore’s able to deliver a reliable attack, against conventional wisdom, he’ll give Tannehill more room to operate. Is he up to the challenge? Gore’s great-grandchildren (kidding!) are pulling for him.
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