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RB Jay Ajayi - Philadelphia Eagles

6-0, 221Born: 6-15-1993College: Boise StateDrafted: Round 5

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Photo: Geoff Burke, US Presswire

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Preseason player page

News you need to know

General News (Fri Feb 2): practiced fully on Friday and is not on the team's injury report. He will play this week.

General News (Thu Feb 1): practiced fully on Thursday.

General News (Thu Feb 1): practiced fully on Wednesday.

Week 21: vs New England Patriots

All RB vs NE

FBG says: Good matchup. The Eagles running game has turned to Jay Ajayi, but what is interesting is that Jay Ajayi has started off tremendously in each of his last two games, but then has struggled throughout the second and third quarter as the defense gets in rhythm against the offense. Ajayi had 49 yards in the first quarter against the Falcons only to have 53 yards for the game. Against the Vikings, Ajayi had 20 yards on his first two carries, but only had two carries for three yards for the rest of the first half. This is a running attack that has to find more consistency in the Super Bowl in order to win this game. LeGarrette Blount has taken most of the short-yardage and goal-line work as the Eagles have tried to mix the roles of Ajayi, Blount and even Corey Clement who has filled in the third down roles. The Eagles are very strong on the offensive line with the exception of left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai who is filling in for the injured Jason Peters. Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, and Lane Johnson have all been very solid this season. The Patriots defensive front is one of the weaknesses on this team as their front seven is the one weak spot on their team. The linebackers of the Patriots have struggled this season as Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts, Marquis Flower, and Jordan Roberts have all struggled at the linebacker position while Deatrich Rowe and James Harrison have struggled at the defensive end position. On the season, the Patriots allowed 4.8 yards per carry which was the second worst in the NFL. This is the matchup that will likely determine the Super Bowl this week as if the Eagles can consistently stick with Jay Ajayi they will win this game but if they get off to a strong start and then avoid him, then it could be a tough road for them in this game.

Recent Stats and Projections

19 vs ATL 29 15 54 0 5 3 44 0 1 8.8
20 vs MIN 0 18 73 0 3 3 26 0 0 9.9
21 vs NE 25 9 57 0 0 0 0 0 0 5.7
21 vs NE PROJ-Dodds * 13 * * 2 * * * *
21 vs NE PROJ-Tremblay * 13 * * 2 * * * *
21 vs NE PROJ-Bloom * 16 * * 3 * * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2017 Week 20 vs MIN (18 / 73 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 26 / 0 rec)

Much like last week, Jay Ajayi started off hot with his first two carries going for 20 yards, but then seemingly the Eagles went away from him in the first half as he had just two additional carries for 3 yards in the first half. While his overall stat line looks solid with 78 yards, most of this was once the Eagles opened up a big lead as he had 29 yards on the team's last drive as they looked to run out the clock. Consistency will be a big concern for Ajayi in the Super Bowl as they will need him to continue the solid performance that we have seen to start games the past few weeks.

2017 Week 19 vs ATL (15 / 54 / 0 rush, 5 / 3 / 44 / 0 rec)

This was a rollercoaster type game for Ajayi this week. After a fumbling on his first carry of the day, he then looked as if he was going to have a monster game as he was running hard and effective behind Jason Kelce. From a running standpoint the defense for the Falcons made adjustments to slow Ajayi down after the first quarter as Ajayi had 49 yards at the end of the first quarter on seven carries and somehow only had eight carries for five yards the rest of the game. The team seemingly abandoned him for a period of time going with Corey Clement and LeGarrette Blount for periods of time and Ajayi was not able to get back in rhythm once this occurred. Ajayi did have great success as a receiver as he was used as a safety valve for Foles on a play that he caught the ball about five yards behind the line of scrimmage and was able to use his speed and power to turn this into a 32 yard gain.

2017 Week 16 vs OAK (14 / 52 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 21 / 1 rec)

Jay Ajayi once again carried the load for the Eagles but failed to get anything going in this game on the ground outside of a 15-yard carry in which Ajayi was fighting for extra yards but fumbled as he was going to the ground as his own teammate Chance Warmack hit him while trying to block an opponent. Ajayi was utilized in the passing game as Nick Foles connected on a check down where Ajayi released as a blocker and was able to find open space and hit the corner for a 17-yard touchdown.

2017 Week 15 vs NYG (12 / 49 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 40 / 0 rec)

Since trading for Ajayi, the Eagles have been very noncommittal with their backfield. Blount has not exactly panned out like they expected but is still getting the bulk of the goal line carries. Corey Clement has shown flashes of brilliance and deserves touches as well. This is the first week that Ajayi has had more touches than any other back and he did just enough with them to be deserving of more. He also chipped in a 32-yard reception that is outside of his usual skill set. Ajayi did not find the end zone this week but is slowly working his way to the top of the running back depth chart.

2017 Week 14 vs LAR (15 / 78 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 2 / 0 rec)

It appears that Jay Ajayi is starting to separate himself from the rest of the running backs in Philadelphia and could be forced to take on a big role with Carson Wentz out. Ajayi was on the field for 51% of the plays while showing some burst that LeGarrette Blount has not been able to consistently provide. Ajayi had three carries that went for 10 or more yards in this game and while he was unable to find the end-zone ended the day with 5.2 yards per carry.

2017 Week 13 vs SEA (9 / 35 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 11 / 0 rec)

Jay Ajayi led the team in snaps this week as he was on the field for 42% of the plays. While it is not surprising that Ajayi out-snapped Blount, it is telling that even though the team was down most of the game they did keep Ajayi in this game instead of going with a full complement of Corey Clement. Ajayi was used out of the passing games largely as a safety valve in this game as he was able to bring in three catches which was the most he has had thus far as an Eagles running back.

2017 Week 12 vs CHI (5 / 26 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)

Ajayi had just five carries in this game in which he had a 30-yard run in which he split defenders on a nice cut back run, but Ajayi fumbled at the one-yard line and the Eagles were fortunate enough to recover in the end zone for a Nelson Agholor touchdown. Outside of this carry, Ajayi had four carries for negative four yards in this game as he had a difficult time getting anything going. Ajayi was on the field for 22 snaps which was nine more snaps than last week, so they are slowly integrating him into the offense the problem is that this offense looks like it is going to continue to be a running back by committee throughout the season.

2017 Week 11 vs DAL (7 / 91 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 10 / 0 rec)

Ajayi had a 71 yard rush on a trap play that was setup by Jason Kelce getting to the second level and blocking Anthony Hitchens. Ajayi was only on the field for 13 snaps which coming off the bye we had expected that Ajayi would be featured in a more prominent role in this offense.

2017 Week 9 vs DEN (8 / 77 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Ajayi made a big impact in his first game as an Eagles running back as he took an off-tackle handoff out of the shotgun in which there was no Broncos defender until the end zone and Ajayi was able to finish the run for a 46-yard rushing touchdown. Ajayi was on the field more than LeGarrette Blount and likely does not know the entire playbook so look for Ajayi's role to continue to grow in the coming weeks.

2017 Week 8 vs BAL (13 / 23 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 18 / 0 rec)

Jay Ajayi rushed 13 times for 23 yards and caught four of his five targets for 18 yards against the Ravens in week 8. Ajayi started off very well, ripping off a 21 yard run on his first carry. However, it was all downhill from there as he managed only two more yards on his next 12 carries. The game was out of hand within the first half, especially with the Dolphins passing game struggling, as the Ravens were able to stack the box against Ajayi and dare Matt Moore to throw the ball. Ajayi's success is very much game script dependent. When the Dolphins are leading or the game is close and they can feed him the ball repeatedly, he's able to wear down opposing defenses and break off big chunk plays. When the Dolphins are losing though, defenses are able to key on him and force Miami to either throw or run the ball against eight man fronts. Ajayi is talented, but even he can't beat defenses when they are able to put so many players in the box and cut off the outside.

2017 Week 7 vs NYJ (23 / 51 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 26 / 0 rec)

Ajayi is running with all of the effort you could expect from an NFL player. He is often breaking tackles, even on losses and no gain runs, and when there is a hole there, he hits it hard. Ajayi is getting yards after contact, pushing the pile, and it's almost always taking more than one man to bring him down, but the Dolphins line isn't giving him a chance to get big runs. The turf was also unkind and caused Ajayi and others to slip on multiple plays. The bright spot other than the pass offense coming alive was Ajayi being more involved as a receiver and looking natural both bringing the ball in and turning upfield after the catch.

2017 Week 6 vs ATL (26 / 130 / 0 rush, 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Jay Ajayi rushed 26 times for 130 yards and no touchdowns, but it was his ability to move the chains that was the difference between the Dolphins winning and losing. Ajayi's long gain of the game were a pair of 18 yard rushes on back to back plays in the fourth quarter that moved the Dolphins from their own 34 yard line all the way to the Atlanta 30 yard line. These two plays set up a 38 yard Codey Parkey field goal that proved to be the points that won the game for Miami. Ajayi had 10 gains of five or more yards, and despite their offensive line coach being fired the previous week, the Dolphins offensive line did a great job of opening holes for their running back. Ajayi bullied his way to 130 yards rushing, punishing the Atlanta secondary whenever he got to the second level. It was clear that the Falcons defense wanted no part of the Ajayi in the fourth quarter, and he was able to exploit the soft spots in the Falcons secondary whenever he got to the second level.

2017 Week 5 vs TEN (25 / 77 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 2 / 0 rec)

Jay Ajayi rushed 25 times for 77 yards, while also catching two passes for two yards. While the 77 yards were an improvement over the last two weeks, the 77 rushing yards pale in comparison to what we saw Ajayi do with a full workload last season. It is not entirely his fault though, as the Miami offensive line has failed to open adequate holes for him to run through, and in the instance where Ajayi is able to break through his first tackler, there are often several other defenders waiting to take him down. Ajayi's ability to gain first downs while the passing game was largely ineffective was key in Miami winning the field positioning battle. Without that, the Dolphins would have fell to 1-3 on a day when their defense was largely responsible for sealing the win against the Titans.

2017 Week 4 vs NO (12 / 46 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 8 / 0 rec)

If the Dolphins score zero points, possess the ball for 40% of the game and have only 164 yards passing, the chances are that Miami did not get their bell-cow running back going in the game. This was the case against the Saints in London on Sunday, as Ajayi rushed 12 times for only 46 yards, while also catching one pass for eight yards. While Ajayi was far from effective against New Orleans, he wasn't give much of an opportunity to wear down the Saints defense. Miami was trailing 10-0 midway through the 4th quarter, so the lack of carries was not due to the game being out of hand. Six of Ajayi's 12 carries went for 2 yards or less, which has been a trend dating back to last season. Ajayi needs a large workload so he can wear down defenses and then break off big plays. The Miami offensive line is not one of the leagues better units, so Ajayi needs some semblance of a passing attack to keep defenses from stacking the box against him. In this particular game, that is exactly what New Orleans did, holding the Dolphins to 186 net offensive yards.

2017 Week 3 vs NYJ (11 / 16 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)

The New York Jets completely shut down the Dolphins run game, and held Jay Ajayi to 16 yards on 11 carries. He also caught two passes for nine yards, but Ajayi was not even a factor in this game. The Dolphins offense is centered around Ajayi being a workhorse, and the Jets showed what happens when Jay Cutler is forced to throw the ball 44 times. Ajayi had five carries that went for negative yards, which explains why he only gained 16 yards. Ajayi was injured on his first carry of the game, but came back in shortly after. The injury didn't appear to be anything more than a hard shot to the groin, so Ajayi will not miss any time. This was a bad game script for the Dolphins, and their offense will only go as far as Ajayi can take them.

2017 Week 2 vs LAC (28 / 122 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 4 / 0 rec)

Jay Ajayi continued to be the workhorse for the Dolphins offense, carrying the ball 28 times for 122 yards, while also catching two passes for four yards on two targets. When I first watched Ajayi last season, I did not see an NFL skillset. He looked sluggish getting to the line of scrimmage, and was indecisive hitting the holes that his offensive line opened up for him. Well that is all in the past, as Ajayi has totally changed my perception of him. He does have elite skills, specifically his power and balance. When Ajayi gets beyond the line of scrimmage, he is more than willing to run over defenders, even more so than running around them. With his power, he is able to hit defenders and keep his legs underneath him, which is how he gains so many yards after first contact. Ajayi also gets stronger as the game goes on, which considering his hefty workload, gives him the opportunity to take advantage of tired defenses late in the game.


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