Second-year Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin produced career highs in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage in the 24-0 victory against the New York Jets in Week 6, and it just so happened to come in the same week the team reportedly pursued three-time 1,200-yard rusher Le'Veon Bell.
So the very first question that came his way in his Zoom media session after he had 91 rushing yards and 126 yards from scrimmage was whether the pursuit of Bell changed anything in his week of preparation.
The answer was direct and to the point: "No."
And there's really no reason to doubt his word.
Think about it, and we're going to take from what Cameron Wake always to tell reporters when he was asked whether certain opponents or teams gave him extra motivation. He always said if he said that, yes, Team X or Player X made him play harder, that meant he didn't play at 100 percent in other games.
Now, this isn't to suggest that some players don't find extra motivation in different places, but look at how Gaskin got to this point right now and you'll understand why he's already got all the motivation he needs.
Do you really think that Gaskin has forgotten that he wasn't drafted until the seventh round? Despite the fact he put up great numbers at the University of Washington? Or that he had to wait until the middle of his rookie season to get off the inactive list?
That's motivation right there.
Gaskin came back for his second training camp this summer looking like a different back — quicker, stronger, more decisive — and that enabled to earn a role right away.
It's now to the point where Gaskin is the unquestioned lead back for the Dolphins, ahead of veteran offseason acquisitions Jordan Howard and Matt Breida.But one would think that Gaskin is well aware that playing time is earned through performance and his status could change if his production dips.
So Gaskin always has motivation to perform and produce, no matter what player the organization might or might not be pursuing.
And he's not taking anything for granted.
“Very thankful that the coaches are putting trust in me, but I think I can do a lot better personally, for myself and for this team," Gaskin said. "I just need to keep growing, and I think I’ve been on that path, just kind of learning from my mistakes each week and just trying to get better each and every day, not trying to be complacent at all. I give everything I can to this team and this organization.”
Gaskin's emergence has been maybe the biggest surprise for the Dolphins so far this season, though there were signs during camp practices open to the media that he was on his way to doing some good things.
He's gotten lost a bit in all the Tua talk, but he's a great story for these 2020 Dolphins and likewise has earned the respect of his teammates.
"He’s a guy that has just continued to work really hard and just the improvement that he made from last year to this year is awesome," quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "Not just in running the ball but the way he catches it and his confidence in the huddle. We’re always out there cheering for Myles and he wants to get better every single day, and I think that’s why you’ve seen such a great jump for him this year.”
That jump happened long before the Dolphins tried to land Bell and whatever caused it to happen certainly won't disappear after.