“We’ve got to stop trying to hit home runs all the time. It’s on the running back. Do your job. It’s not hard to do.” This quote from Adam Gase back in 2017 may have been the straw that broke the camels back. After weeks of tension and unrest, the Dolphins offloaded a running back they felt to be inconsistent and injury-prone in exchange for a fourth-round pick. While the move frustrated Dolphins fans, it excited those of his new team, the Eagles.
Ajayi had recorded 1,272 rushing yards in the previous season, featuring three games of 200+. He would join an Eagles backfield led by LeGarrette Blount that would take a while to fizzle and find its identity, but when it did, the Jay-Train got rolling and the next stop was Super Bowl 52.
In 2018, a torn ACL would rip him of his contract year and ultimately leave Ajayi without a team the following season, until the Eagles came knocking again. He Hadn’t played since tearing his ACL in week 5 of the 2018 season, but averaged a staggering 5.8 yards per carry during his Super Bowl-winning year was more than enough to convince the Eagles that he could help bring their backfield to life as injury concerns started to arise.
Jordan Howard didn’t get the revenge game he wanted against Chicago. Well, he did in one way, but the injury picked up in the win has left him sidelined in both games since. But with two games now under his belt and a short-yardage role already established, it might be time for the Eagles to set the Jay-Train rolling again.
Miles Sanders still has some growing room in terms of vision and patience, and Ajayi’s ability to set his sights on a hole and go ‘all-in’, barrelling through defenders, could be exactly what the doctor ordered against Miami’s 31st ranked run defense.
In a game where Zach Ertz is now going to be absent, establishing the run is going to be even more important. Ajayi has averaged 4.5 yards per carry during his career and although it’s a small sample size, the fact he converted 2/6 runs for a first down last week is encouraging.. He rushed for 184 yards in that glorious 2017 postseason and the Eagles will remember that fondly.
Ajayi may not be bitter heading into this weekend’s game. After all, he earned a Pro Bowl nod as a Dolphin and set numerous records for his astonishing accomplishments. The trade led him to a Super Bowl, and it’s safe to say he came off better than the Head Coach that sent him packing.
However, if it’s angry running the Eagles want, asking Ajayi to put the icing on the cake and rub it in that much more may well be the answer in a game where Jordan Howard is still missing.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports