Adam Gase Believes That Kalen Ballage Can Help at Running Back and Special Teams

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase is hopeful Kalen Ballage can do more than be a running back.
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The Kalen Ballage move, on the surface, was a curious one for the New York Jets. Not so for head coach Adam Gase, who believes that Ballage is able to contribute in a variety of ways.

On Friday, the Jets traded a conditional seventh round pick to the Miami Dolphins for Ballage, who was set to be cut by the team the drafted him just two years ago. The move ensured that Ballage didn’t hit the waiver wire but was curious because the running back underachieved greatly last year and the Jets are loaded at running back.

At least relatively speaking.

“We’ll see kind of how it turns out. I mean obviously you guys saw we’ve only got three running backs out there right now, Josh [Adams] is still down,” Gase said on Saturday during a virtual press conference.

“But he has a lot of ability obviously, just from playing running back but the guy played a lot of special teams for me in the past, has done gunner work, has done return work. He can give (Brant) Boyer some help in some of those spots where he’s kind of down guys or he’s missing a piece. He might be able to contribute in those areas.”

The knock on Ballage is his lack of production. The former fourth round pick had a somewhat solid rookie season in 2018 for the Dolphins when Gase, coincidentally, was his head coach. That season, he had 191 rushing yards on 36 carries with one touchdown.

But last year he saw a serious dip in his output (135 rushing yards on 74 attempts; three rushing touchdowns).

Even with the aforementioned Adams hurt, the Jets are still deep at running back. They return Le’Veon Bell, a two-time All-Pro who signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the Jets last offseason. They also signed Frank Gore as a free agent this summer, the 16-year veteran is third all-time in the NFL in rushing yards and can still contribute at 37-years old.

And in April, the Jets drafted La’Mical Perine in the fourth round who should earn some carries this season.