The Miami Dolphins lost Jay Ajayi eight weeks ago to broken ribs. Two weeks ago he began practicing again and he may be activated for the first time since his injury this weekend. The question is whether or not it’s too late to really help the team at this point?
Lamar Miller has played well when he has actually been given the football. Last Thursday he rushed a paltry nine times and one would look at the scoreboard and say Miami was playing from behind the entire game but that really wasn’t the case. Miami was playing from behind but were within two scores most of the game. Miami did what Miami has done all season. They abandoned the running game.
Spelling Miller is former Patriot Jonas Gray and while Gray is more or less a battering ram to Miller’s ellusiveness, he really hasn’t made the impact on the roster that was expected but this could also be chalked up to the coaches steering away from the running game in favor of throwing the ball. So how will Ajayi’s presence change this? It likely won’t.
Ajayi needs to get back into full condition but if he is activated he will likely be used in a limited role. Missing most of his rookie season thus far has put him way behind the NFL learning curve so I wouldn’t expect a Todd Gurley type explosion when he returns. The Dolphins also tend to hold rookies back and working them in softly. That has been a mantra of former coach Joe Philbin but in the three weeks since Dan Campbell took over we have not seen bull work out of DeVante Parker or Phillip Jordan.
Whatever the Dolphins opt to do in the running game with Ajayi will be interesting because as of now they have Jonas Gray, Miller, and Damien Williams on the roster and frankly they don’t run the ball enough now to get any of them involved consistently. Adding another runner to the active roster would be crazy and it’s likely Gray would find himself inactive. Ajayi could give the Dolphins a boost in the passing game, not that the Dolphins need to pass more. He has good hands and is quick enough to avoid the first tackle and get downfield.
Sunday’s game at Buffalo will unravel some of the plans for Ajayi but if he remains inactive it wouldn’t be all that surprising either. Ajayi will help the team but that’s somewhere down the road. The Dolphins under NFL rules have until November 11th to activate him.