The Miami Dolphins made Jay Ajayi a healthy scratch for this Sunday’s opening weekend game against the Seattle Seahawks. The move leaves a lot of “what-if” questions on the table.
Entering the 2016 off-season programs Jay Ajayi was the number one tailback for the Miami Dolphins. A sub-standard pre-season and the addition of Arian Foster swayed the starting job in favor of Foster.
And that’s where everything seems to have gone South.
What exactly happened with Jay Ajayi is actually not clear. Head coach Adam Gase calls the decision to keep him hom a “coaching decision”. Adam Beasley reported on Friday that an anonymous player said Ajayi was sulking about his demotion.
Sulking is not likely going to get a player left off a plane so there had to be more to it than just moping around. A rumor, however brief, circulated for a short time on Twitter that after the demotion Ajayi left the team out of anger. However nothing came of that.
Somewhere in the middle lies the truth but what is interesting here is that the Dolphins elected to keep five running backs on the final 53 which could be an indication that something was brewing before the team finalized their roster.
With Foster and now Damien Williams and Isaiah Pead getting the reps this weekend and potentially Kenyan Drake, what happens if they impress? Will Jay Ajayi have a future with the Dolphins? Will Gase continue to keep him off the 53 man roster?
The Dolphins are thin at the position but Ajayi is no more known than Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake was drafted for a reason. The Dolphins have invested little in Ajayi, a 5th round pick in 2015. His production on the field has warranted no special favors or even small guarantees.
Still Ajayi has a lot of potential and frankly there is no real idea how upset Gase is at this entire situation. It could simply be Gase making a statement and letting his players no without question that this is his team. A more likely situation.
Keeping Ajayi home in Miami is a very strong statement from the first year head coach. Keeping Ajayi on the bench longer than one week would be a bigger statement. Ajayi is in the 2nd season of his rookie contract and frankly has a bit inconsistent.
This issue will quiet down for the weekend. It will be interesting to see what happens when the team returns home and they begin preparations for New England.