ESPN’s Barnwell: ‘ordinary’ Kenyan Drake in the very hot seat

Oct 19, 2020, 1:01 PM
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) runs during the second half of an NFL football gam...

Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) runs during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Kenyan Drake exploded on the Cardinals’ offense when he joined the team at the trade deadline last year, most memorably with an 80-yard touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16.

However, five weeks into the 2020 season, Drake has yet to flash any of the big plays Arizona fans saw last year.

Now, ESPN writer Bill Barnwell believes Drake is in the “very hot seat,” calling the running back “ordinary.”

Drake’s longest run this season has been 16 yards, a far cry from the 80-yard TD last season, and is averaging 3.7 yards per carry — which is what he averaged in Miami in 2019 before being traded to Arizona.

He’s also been lacking in the passing game.

The running back recorded 50 receptions last season between his time in Miami and Arizona, a second-best in his career, and was expected do so again this year. So far, Drake has caught just six passes for 22 yards.

But with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins, as well as star receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk, this drop in receptions may be predictable.

What wasn’t expected is that fellow running back Chase Edmonds — not Drake — is seeing an increase in receptions in 2020.

Through five games, Edmonds has caught 18 balls for 129 yards and two touchdowns, on top of rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown.

While Drake’s production drop-off is slightly concerning, it’s not cause for alarm yet.

Barnwell notes that Titans’ running back Derrick Henry, also known for big plays, “didn’t have a play longer than 16 yards before Sunday and then rolled off a 94-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against the Texans and a 53-yard catch-and-run in overtime.”

So could Monday against the Cowboys be the breakout moment Drake needs to get back on top?

Barnwell says it all comes down to choices by the Cardinals coach.

“Kliff Kingsbury can help by dialing up some screens or designed passes to get Drake more involved in the passing game.”

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ESPN’s Barnwell: ‘ordinary’ Kenyan Drake in the very hot seat