We’ll deviate a little from the usual All-22 format for Frank Gore because there should be very little doubt that he’s been a tremendous football player for many years. It’s not Gore’s talent that’s in question, it’s his age. As we did for Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy, we’ll focus on games later in the Miami Dolphins’ 2018 season as these should be more likely to expose the ravages of Father Time. A foot injury suffered last season creates a bit of an unknown when discussing Gore’s future, but extrapolating from time he did play, let’s see how he did.
Frank Gore won’t be setting land-speed records by any means, and actually was never known as a burner. However, this run is more than acceptable for a running back from the speed department. He’s also patient enough to take whatever’s coming to him by using his lead blocker to perfection. When he sees daylight, he intuitively takes an advantageous angle and is off running.
Again, that’s respectable speed and good ability to twist to make the catch. A stutter makes the defender hesitate long enough to rob him of his momentum. That creates an advantage for Gore who has knocked people over from time to time. Putting it all together nets an 11-yard gain on first-and-ten.
This is very similar to Play 2, but Gore knows he’s being chased. He twists even further to make the catch so he can do a 180 and get some extra yards. That’s a pretty slick move for the oldest running back under contract in the league.
Gore does seem to have lost some ability to carry a pile. He still has a good deal of that ability though. A major factor is his ability to get low and keep driving. The momentum keeps adding yards to the run and he has a knack for falling forward.
The Dolphins seemed somewhat shy letting Gore stay back to pass protect, instead asking him to flow into the field to be a dump-off option. For this play he once again shows his veteran understanding of the game. Seeing where he’s needed, he makes a pretty nice cut to “discourage” Malcolm Brown from obliterating Ryan Tannehill.
This run combines a lot of the positives we see above (it also occurred a little earlier in the year). Some credit for Gore’s success in 2018 definitely needs to go to Miami’s offensive line. Gore ended the year with 4.6 yards per carry, his best since 2012. None of the running backs for the Miami Dolphins were under 4.5 yards per carry. Gore was able to take advantage of opportunities but, like all backs, needed a little help in creating them.
One more pass-block clip. If it were up to just Frank Gore’s side of the field, Brock Osweiler is upright for a long time.
Has Frank Gore lost a step? Yeah, it’d be insane if he hadn’t yet. But like LeSean McCoy, some players are so good to start with that losing a step still puts them ahead of the pack. And Gore is one of those players. His knowledge of the game acquired over his long career offsets a good deal of the inevitable decline from age.
Will Gore be this good behind Buffalo’s line? Assuming the 2018 skill level, I doubt it. It’d be hard to see Frank Gore (or any running back) being able to cover up all the weaknesses. In 2019, if the Bills haven’t made improvements on the line when it comes time to play, then who suits up at running back will be mostly irrelevant anyway and bringing in Gore is mostly a “no harm, no foul” situation. If the line is improved like we expect, Gore should be a good addition to the Bills.