Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi has had a tough road to where he is now.
Around this time last year, Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi was down in the Sunshine state. The former Miami Dolphins running back was coming off of an impressive 1,272-yard season with a total of eight rushing touchdowns. To put it just, Ajayi was beginning to look like a force to be reckoned with in the Dolphins running game.
It didn’t take long for everything to go downhill for Ajayi, though. After all, the Dolphins had quite the circus going on in their locker room before the season even started. Their starting quarterback went down with a season-ending injury, which forced Jay Cutler into the situation. Also, The offensive line coach would be exposed for his off-field antics. This all eventually led up to Ajayi growing frustrated with the organization and damaging his relationship with his coach.
The first seven weeks of the 2017 season couldn’t pass by any quicker for Ajayi. He was averaging a significantly low 3.4 yards-per-carry and didn’t see the end zone at all. Ajayi visibly needed a change, and the call from Howie Roseman gave him the ticket of a lifetime. Not only to Philadelphia to play for the Eagles, but also to Minnesota to win Super Bowl LII.
When Ajayi came to Philadelphia, he had to learn on the go. It was evident that he would take a backseat to LeGarrette Blount and everything worked out fine. As Ajayi heads into his first offseason with the Eagles, the 25-year-old back is looking to become the face of a backfield once again. The Eagles made it clear that they will continue with their committee approach, but Ajayi is sure to be the number one guy when 2018 kicks off.
Can Ajayi get back to his old ways?
Being rushed to learn an entirely new offense is never easy in the NFL. But it didn’t take long for Ajayi to get comfortable in his limited role with the Eagles. In fact, his first touchdown of the season came during a 46-yard rush to the end zone while rocking an Eagles uniform. We’ve seen flashes from Ajayi in 2017. But nobody is quite convinced that he is the answer for the future of the backfield heading into his contract year.
In fact, ESPN’s Mike Clay believes the Eagles have taken a significant hit with the loss of Blount. Despite the Eagles recording the most rushing yards in 2017, Clay thinks that the Eagles backfield is just about average, ranking them at No. 18.
The uncertainty is valid, but nobody should believe that Ajayi can’t perform just as well, if not, better than Blount this upcoming season. With Darren Sproles back into the mix, and Corey Clement looking to be better than last season, the Eagles have a favorable situation in the backfield.
Considering one of the best offensive lines in football will get their starting left tackle back, Ajayi could have a career year in 2018. Knowing that the young back occasionally reads the headlines, it’s safe to say that ESPN has issued him some bulletin board material.