Jay Ajayi had three games with more than 200 yards rushing last season, and four total over 100 yards. Take a look at his game log:
In the words of the great O-Town, it’s All or Nothing. Ajayi’s three massive early-season games put the league on notice, and opponents somewhat adjusted to his big-play ability. There was a four-week stretch where he had three performances averaging less than three yards per game, and another averaging over five but on only 12 carries. He followed that up with a 32-carry, 206-yard performance against the Bills.
This season, however, those big games haven’t come – Ajayi has one 100+ yard game, against the Falcons – and his longest run is only 21 yards. He has 465 rushing yards on 3.4 yards per carry and no touchdowns. That’s not gonna cut it. But then again, he plays for a dreadful offense which has the fewest yards in the league– by a wide margin.
Ajayi is always looking for the big play, something that concerned Adam Gase, whose team inexplicably has a winning record while scoring only six points (total) in its three loses:
Here’s what Adam Gase said just last week, probably tells you why he was dealt… pic.twitter.com/s1yRKbUi0W
— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) October 31, 2017
The good news is the Eagles could use that big play threat. Losing Darren Sproles hurt them in this regard, and it appears that the team doesn’t view Wendell Smallwood, who got only one carry this week, as the answer. Kenjon Barner is unreliable and Corey Clement is just fine. Ajayi is not only that player, but he’s a big back who can carry it 20+ times per game. To say he’s the perfect complement to Blount, or the perfect upgrade to Blount, would be an understatement. The Eagles all of a sudden have a very formidable running game, at the expense of a fourth round pick, of which they had three.
Ajayi has had some knee issues, and is reported to have a bit of a temper, but perhaps a change of scenery will do him good. There’s little risk for the Eagles. Ajayi will make only $615k this year and is owed just $705k next year. And then there’s this, which makes me just the slightest bit horny:
The Eagles received 1st and 4th round picks for Sam Bradford.
The 1st got Derek Barnett.
A 4th got Jay Ajayi.
— Patrick (@PatrickMCausey) October 31, 2017
Brandon Lee Gowtown points out that Ajayi also fairly decent at pass blocking, which is also something the Eagles need in Jason Peters’ absence:
FWIW, Jay Ajayi ranks 19th out of 44 RBs in pass protection this season by @PFF.
(Blount 33rd, Smallwood 44th) #Eagles
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 31, 2017
The Eagles are clearly going for it here. Is that smart? I don’t know. As expected, they still have the toughest part of their schedule coming up – Cowboys twice, Seahawks, Rams, and a tough Broncos defense – which I think may be getting overlooked. They’re also without one of their best players in Peters. We still don’t know how much his loss will impact the team. Remember what happened last year when Lane Johnson went out?
So, I still don’t know if I believe the Eagles are Super Bowl contenders – they have all the makings of a team that peaks in the first half – but they are in a great position to compete for a bye, and trading a fourth round pick for a potential star running back is a great move. I like it, a lot.