The Eagles will use a committee of backs, with two and three backs heavily involved in most games. Or will they? Running backs coach Duce Staley indicates the team is looking to use Jay Ajayi in more of a featured role this season.
Talking to in-house reporters from the team’s website, Staley says Ajayi can expect a big uptick in his workload.
"I'm pretty sure that Jay is excited about being able to go out there and dominate and being able to be that guy," Staley told reporters from the team’s website. "I know Doug (Pederson) is excited about it also. We'll see."
I don’t expect Ajayi to develop into a back who’ll be logging 20 carries per game. They’ve got some other guys who are capable. Corey Clement for sure. Darren Sproles might play in a lot of third-down type situations; he’ll be 35 next week and missed most of last season, but they were very interested in re-signing him. Donnel Pumphrey or Wendell Smallwood haven’t done much yet, but one of them might emerge as a factor.
But Staley talks as if it’s a foregone conclusion that Ajayi will at least be their starter and primary runner.
Ajayi can also expect a large increase in his workload around the goal line. LeGarrette Blount carried the ball 17 times inside the 5-yard line last year (that’s including postseason games); he’s now with the Lions. With him gone, there’s an excellent chance Ajayi will at a minimum will get double-digit carries in that part of the field.
After joining the Eagles last year, Ajayi had only 2 carries inside the 5-yard line, both against the Vikings. He gained 3 yards on one carry but lost 3 yards shortly after on a carry from the 2.
Here are the numbers for everyone on the team. They include plays on 2-point conversions, and they include the team’s three playoff games.
|EAGLES RUSHING INSIDE 5|