Ea­gles boost run game, get Mi­ami’s Jay Ajayi for draft pick

South Florida Times - - FRONT PAGE - By ROB MAADDI

PHILADEL­PHIA (AP) - The NFL-lead­ing Ea­gles bol­stered their run­ning at­tack Tues­day, ac­quir­ing Jay Ajayi from the Mi­ami Dol­phins for a 2018 fourth-round draft pick hours be­fore the trade dead­line.

Ajayi has 465 yards rush­ing and is av­er­ag­ing 3.4 yards per carry with no touch- downs. He went to the Pro Bowl last sea­son after run­ning for 1,272 yards, in­clud­ing three 200-yard games.

“We like our run­ning back group,” Ea­gles vice pres­i­dent of foot­ball op­er­a­tions Howie Rose­man said. “This was an op­por­tu­nity that came to us, a good player who could add to our team. He’s a young player who is un­der con­tract for the next cou­ple years.”

Dol­phins coach Adam Gase sig­naled his dis­plea­sure with Ajayi last week after Mi­ami was routed 40-0 at Bal­ti­more, not­ing missed block­ing as­sign­ments in pass pro­tec­tion.

“The run­ning back, we never blocked the right guy,” Gase said. “I don’t even know if we know who we’ve got.We’ve got to get that fixed.”

LeGar­rette Blount leads Philadel­phia with 467 yards rush­ing and is av­er­ag­ing 4.7 yards a carry with two touch­downs. Rose­man said Blount re­mains the starter and he’s con­fi­dent Ajayi won’t cre­ate prob­lems.

“We weren’t go­ing to bring any­one here that would dis­rupt team chem­istry,” Rose­man said. “We feel very con­fi­dent and com­fort­able about the player.”

The Ea­gles (7-1) have the fifth-ranked run of­fense and have won six straight games. On Mon­day, coach Doug Ped­er­son wasn’t sure the team needed any help.

“It has to be the right fit,” Ped­er­son said be­fore the trade. “It can’t just be any­body. From my stand­point, you don’t want to dis­rupt the chem­istry that is go­ing on in the dress­ing room right now. Those guys are play­ing with a lot of con­fi­dence and they’re ral­ly­ing around each other so it would have to be a pretty spe­cial fit to make it work.”

Ajayi fits the “spe­cial” cat­e­gory de­spite his in­con­sis­tent sea­son. He had 122 yards rush­ing in Week 2 and 130 in Week 6.

Last year, Ajayi was lauded for his dura­bil­ity and abil­ity to break tack­les. He helped the Dol­phins reach the play­offs for the first time since 2008, and joined O.J. Simp­son, Earl Camp­bell and Tiki Bar­ber as the only play­ers to rush for 200 yards three times in a sea­son.

The Lon­don-born Ajayi wasn’t drafted un­til the fifth round in 2015 be­cause of a knee is­sue, but he has av­er­aged 18 car­ries a game the past two sea­sons and has made 19 con­sec­u­tive starts. Ajayi has been held out of prac­tice a lot this year to pro­tect his knees, and the Dol­phins may have doubts about his longevity.

The Dol­phins (4-3) needed a shake-up. They’re in the play­off race even though they rank last in the NFL in points and yards.

With Ajayi gone, Damien Wil­liams and Kenyan Drake are ex­pected to share du­ties at run­ning back Sun­day against Oak­land.

The Ea­gles have to make a ros­ter spot for Ajayi.Wen­dell Small­wood, Corey Cle­ment and Ken­jon Barner are the other run­ning backs on the ros­ter. They lost Dar­ren Spro­les for the sea­son in Week 3.


Ea­gles trade draft pick for Jay Ajayi

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