Arian Foster left Sunday’s game against New England early with a groin injury. He did not return, leaving Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake to try and find Miami’s running game.
I’m sure many were wondering when the Miami Dolphins signed Arian Foster this past offseason, just how long could he stay healthy. With a lengthy injury history, it was only a matter of time until he went down. I personally had four games, but in Week 2 Foster left Sunday’s game against New England early with an apparent groin injury.
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The news does not bode well for the Dolphins, who already have one of the worst rushing attacks in the league, and that’s with Foster healthy. In his absence, Miami was forced to rely on 2nd-year man Jay Ajayi and rookie Kenyan Drake. Ajayi showed why Foster was brought in by the Dolphins in the first place.
On five rushing attempts, Ajayi could only muster up 14 yards, and had a critical turnover on a possession where Miami was driving. Drake, on the other hand, performed pretty well in a very limited role. Drake had the first touchdown of his career, running it in from seven yards out, but had just two attempts and also caught two receptions.
The Dolphins went pass heavy in the 2nd half, allowing Ryan Tannehill to finish with a pretty good day although he struggled to get anything going in the first half. With Miami down 31-3 midway through the 3rd quarter, the Dolphins had no choice but to resort to the pass in order to get back in the game. Even though the initial news of Foster’s injury was not a good sign, it looks as though the Dolphins may have dodged a bullet.
Foster is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday, but early speculation indicates that Foster may just miss this week’s home opener against the Cleveland Browns. It will be a short week for the Dolphins following the game against the Browns, so there’s a chance that he misses next Thursday’s game against Cincinnati as well. The MRI results remain to be seen, but if speculations are true, then Miami has to consider themselves fortunate.
Having the lowly Browns in town should also make things a little easier. With no real threat to rush the ball, expect Tannehill to throw for 40-plus pass attempts this week pending a blowout. They won’t be so lucky against the Bengals in a week and a half.
You want to believe that the Dolphins had some kind of backup plan in place should Foster go down at any moment prior to the season. It’s top secret if they do, however, and now’s the time to unleash it or make a move. They could look to Isaiah Pead and Damien Williams if they’re healthy, but both were inactive on Sunday.
There’s no denying Foster’s athletic ability, but he hasn’t completed a season since 2012 and has done it just twice in his eight year career. Bringing Foster in as late as they did proved they didn’t like what they saw out of Ajayi to be the lead back. Drake showed some promise yesterday, but he too has struggled to stay healthy since his days in college.
What that backup plan is (if any) remains to be seen, but the Dolphins have to figure out something. They may be off to an 0-2 start, but Miami played hard in their first two games with opportunities to win. The hope now is that they can take some momentum out of those close losses and turn them into wins and maybe even a playoff berth. It will be another long season, however, if Foster can’t stay healthy and the Dolphins backfield can’t find an identity.