DAVIE – It’s not every day you see a running back who rushed for 1,000 yards the previous season traded the very next year, but that’s exactly what the Dolphins have done. Miami shipped off Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi to Philadelphia in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick on Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline after he rushed for 1,272 yards in 2016.
Ajayi got off to a sluggish start this season as he’s racked up just 465 yards through seven games. He hasn’t exactly done his part in keeping the Dolphins’ offense on schedule as he’s averaging just 3.4 yards per carry.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase’s frustration with Ajayi came to a head following Miami’s 40-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night as he clearly felt Ajayi left yards on the field.
“We’ve got to stop trying to hit the home runs all the time,” Gase told members of the media on Friday. “How about taking four or five yards that we’re going to get? It comes down to everybody doing their job. If we actually start doing that, it might help.”
Gase, who had been critical of the offensive line in the past gave the unit a bit of a reprieve following the blowout loss to Baltimore; he instead focused on the running backs inability to pick up blocks.
“To me it comes down to more than just the offensive line. The majority of the time, the offensive at least knows who to go to and knows what to do. You’ve got to get the other guys to know what to do too. [The offensive line] can’t block the running back’s guy. The running back, we never block the right guy. I don’t even know if we know who we’ve got. We’ve got to get that fixed. They can’t block their guy too. [The offensive line is] trying to do what they can and they’re fighting. There’s times where I wished they would do things better, but at least I’m getting effort.”
The Dolphins will likely turn to second-year running back Kenyan Drake to fill Ajayi’s shoes the remainder of the season. Gase has also been critical of Drake’s penchant to look to hit the home run too frequently as well. It will also be interesting to see if he’s improved as a pass blocker.
Drake provides a great deal of lateral quickness and is more explosive compared to Ajayi.
Drake has all of the makings of an every-down running back, and if he can execute assignments to Gase’s liking, he could become the Dolphins’ next feature running back.