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Thread: Jay Ajayi already fired up after Eagles trade

  1. #1
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    Jay Ajayi already fired up after Eagles trade

    nj.com
    Eliot Shorr-Parks


    Christmas came early for the Eagles, who acquired running back Jay Ajayi from the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday before the 4 p.m. NFL trade deadline.

    By picking up Ajayi, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has served notice to the rest of the NFL that it's Super Bowl or bust for the Eagles in 2017.

    Roseman addressed the media Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at the NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia, Pa.

    Here is a transcript of the press conference, provide by the Eagles:

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: I just wanted to start out by saying on behalf of the Eagles organization, we are really sorry to hear about the sudden passing of Te'o [former Eagles DE and draft pick Daniel Te'o-Nesheim]. A young guy gone too soon. The best to his family. We are thinking about him at this time.

    This morning we completed a trade with the Miami Dolphins. Jay Ajayi is a Philadelphia Eagle. We're excited to add him to our team and to our running back collection. We think he's a good player who adds to our group. We're excited about that and having him here going forward.

    Q. Are you done making moves for the day? (Jimmy Kempski)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: You know, it's 1:35 right now and we're going to look at everything. That's our job to do at this time. After today, it's kind of waiver wire and practice squad.

    So we're doing that, but without predicting the future, we feel really confident about our team and comfortable with where we're at.

    Q. Ajayi was the workhorse in Miami. Do you envision him having that role here? (Jeff McLane)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: We like our running back group. This was an opportunity that came to us. We thought [he] was a good player who could add to our team. He's a young player who is under contract for the next couple years. At the same time, everyone has seen the way LeGarrette [RB LeGarrette Blount] has run. Wendell [RB Wendell Smallwood] has had really good games for us. [There's also] Corey [RB Corey Clement]. We brought Kenjon [RB Kenjon Barner] back, as well. It just adds to the group and all that stuff with playing time is sorted out by the coaches.

    But LeGarrette continues to be our starter and just really excited to have that group and add a good player.

    Q. There was a story in The Miami Herald this year that even after wins, if Ajayi didn't get enough touches, he would get upset and cause friction in the locker room. Is that something you guys found out in your evaluation and do you think that is isolated to that team and that experience? (Jeff McLane)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: We do a lot of research on players before we trade for them. Not only did we do a lot of research on a guy like this before, when he comes out in the draft, but we do that here before we make a deal. Really, in this league, you do business with people that you trust and we feel like we have a good understanding of what was going on there.

    We also have a good understanding of what we have in our locker room and the chemistry that we have on this team. We weren't going to bring anyone here that would disrupt team chemistry. We feel very confident and comfortable about the player.

    Q. There were reports out of Miami that the Dolphins were concerned about his knees and his long-term health. How extensively did you guys look at that and what's your level of comfort with his knees? (Reuben Frank)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, the beautiful thing is that we do physicals on players. I'm not a doctor and we have a lot of faith in our medical staff and our trainers and doctors. We share that information before we make a trade like this. I'm not concerned about any reports other than the ones given to us.

    Q. Why did you feel the need to go after a running back? (Martin Frank)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: Again, I don't think we felt compelled to do anything here. We thought this was a good opportunity to improve our football team, not only this year, but going forward.

    Q. Did you say Blount would remain the starter and if so why is that the case? (Dave Zangaro)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: LeGarrette has been productive when he's gotten the ball. He's a warrior. He's a two-time Super Bowl Champion and we're really glad to have him. So you know, I really shouldn't get into kind of 'starter roles.' That's really up to the coaches, but we are counting on LeGarrette going forward here.

    This [move] is no reflection of any of those running backs. This was a good opportunity for the Philadelphia Eagles and our job is to add good players who fit what we do and we believe Jay Ajayi does that.

    Q. At 7-1 it's clearly a rare opportunity. How much did that motivate you to be active in the trade market at this point? (Zach Berman)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, I think you take into account where you are. It's certainly different when you are 7-1 than if you're having a losing season. But at the same time, we are not going to do anything that puts us in a bad spot going forward. A big part of this trade is the fact that it's a 24-year-old back who is not just on a one-year deal.

    But if there are opportunities to improve our team, and improve where we're at, we have a responsibility to the people on the field, to the people off the field and to our fans to evaluate everything. That's our job and that's what we have been doing here, really, throughout the course of the season.

    Q. How long did this trade take to come about? Was this something that happened quickly right at the deadline or is this something that you guys had been in communication about for a while? (John Barchard)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, so we still have some time before the deadline here. But it came together fairly quickly, yesterday. I think that's a testament to the relationship that we have with the Dolphins organization and kind of the trust that goes back and forth on both sides.

    We saw the player. We had the player here in Philadelphia on our field [during training camp for joint practices], and he's one of the guys that when we came back after those practices, we said, 'That's our kind of guy.' He's got the mentality that we're looking for. He brings the kind of presence and he plays the kind of way that we want to play and that we want to represent our football team and our fans with.

    We had done work on him. That's one of the benefits to having these [joint training camp] practices and these scrimmages. So when the opportunity came about, we had done our homework.

    Q. Ajayi's numbers have dipped from last year. From watching the film, what do you see as the reasons for that? (Sheil Kapadia)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well I think you look at the Chargers game and the Falcons game and you could argue that he put the team on his back. That's this season. Obviously last year he had a tremendous year. [He had] 1,249 yards, averaging almost 5 yards a carry, but this is a physical, downhill running back who can pick up yards after contact. He can make people miss. He had 52 catches his junior year at Boise [State].

    Again, [he's] 24-years-old. When you watch him, if there's an alley, he's getting something. He's also going to impose his will on defenders.

    Q. How has Ajayi done in pass protection? (Jeff McLane)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: He's done well. And sometimes [when evaluating] pass protection, you don't know the responsibilities and the assignments. I think that's one of the hard things about scouting, is we don't know the play call. We don't know any of where the line's shifting.

    But we have background on him. We've spent time with him. We interviewed him at the Combine. Again, when you make these trades, you trust the people that we're dealing with, and we're always up front with the people we trade with. We have the same relationship with the Dolphins.

    Q. Ajayi hasn't caught a lot of balls in the NFL like he did in college. Do you feel like he can be more productive as a receiver than he has been? (Reuben Frank)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: Sure, and I think that's one of the things going into this year that they were working on. I know when [the Dolphins] were here, they were working on getting him more involved in the passing game. You know, all that stuff comes, but we go on what we've seen and what we've seen is a tremendously productive guy who is 24-years-old and we think he'll fit right into the culture and the team that we've got going on here.

    Q. How did Blount take it? (Tim McManus)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: LeGarrette's awesome. He wants to win. He's won. He's all about winning. He's been in situations before where there have been productive backs on the team. He's been a tremendous team guy since he's walked in the building and a leader for this football team. Nothing changed today.

    Q. You said that you had done some work on Ajayi this summer when the Dolphins were here. Did you have a sense back then that he might be available? (Paul Domowitch)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: No, not at all. You know, when other teams come in here, our scouts, led by Joe [Vice President of Player Personnel Joe Douglas], evaluate every player that's out there for the week. That's one of the benefits of getting through [the joint practices].

    You look at every player and it helps you through cuts. It helps you when you're in a situation like this where you don't have a lot of time. Our scouting department writes up every player that is here based on their week of practice and we are observing them. We have guys at every position group and it's a testament to our scouting staff that they do this homework on them and it puts us in a position right away where we can make a move like this.

    Q. You mentioned Ajayi's downhill running ability. How does he do laterally on stretch plays? I think that's a part of Miami's offense, is that correct? (Jeff McLane)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, you've just got to look at his 10-plus carries that he's had over the last two years, certainly when he gets out in space, he's a force to be reckoned with, with not only his power but his speed. It's hard to rush for 200 yards [and] three times last year he ran [for 200 yards] against Buffalo and Pittsburgh. It's a hard thing to do in the National Football League. He does it against good competition and tough environments and again we think he's going to fit right into the group.

    Q. I know how much you like your draft picks. How uncomfortable are you right now with what you have heading into the 2018 draft? (Les Bowen)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: There's no doubt about it, we'd like to have more picks, but at the same time we want to get good players. That second round pick was a payment for Carson [Wentz]. That third round pick is for Ronald Darby, a guy we think is a good, young corner in this league.

    We still have two fourth-round picks and we traded a fourth-round pick for a guy we think is a good, young player in this league, too. When you look at percentages on hitting on picks, you try to balance that. By the same token, we have a lot of confidence in our scouting abilities and our scouting staff and we want to give them more and more resources, but we felt like this is the best move for our football team.

    Q. Long term, do you think Ajayi will be a solution at that position going forward? (Zach Berman)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, I don't necessarily know that there's a problem that we need a solution. I think when we look at our running game it's been pretty successful thus far this season. We think we have good players there. When you look at having a stable of backs, when you look at playing in December, in tough conditions, and bringing those guys coming off the bus, it's something that we are excited about.

    Q. How do you feel about the offensive line with T Jason Peters out? (Bo Wulf)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: We draft and develop players, and V [Halapoulivaati Vaitai] was probably one of the most improved players on our football team during training camp, and you draft those guys, you develop them, you put them through the program so that they get opportunities like this. We have a lot of confidence in him and the rest of the offensive line is intact and we have some veteran players behind that that have started games and been success in the National Football League.

    So I guess to answer your question: Good.

    Q. Before the season you said that you felt you had 8 starters on the offensive line. Is that why we haven't seen a move to get a tackle here after Jason Peters' injury? (Jeff McLane)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, I think we are comfortable with our group, too. It's not so easy, you know, just to go and get good players in the National Football League. It's not like there's a tree that you just pick tackles off of and you say, 'Let's just grab that guy.' We went into this with our roster knowing we would have some injuries.

    Again, we draft players so that we can develop them and we're excited about seeing those guys in action and we still feel like we have some starters in reserve, too.

    Q. Has the team kind of outperformed your expectations so far being 7-1 at this point and you making a trade to get a running back to kind of push you over the top? (Martin Frank)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: My expectation is every week that we've got an opportunity to win another game. We've got a long way to go in this season. We're just trying to do whatever we can from our perspective to improve the football team.

    Q. Did being 7-1 make you approach the trade deadline any differently? (Les Bowen)

    HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think similar to how I answered that before; certainly your perspective is different based on what your record is, but by the same token we are not sitting here saying we don't care about our draft picks or the future. We have a 24-year-old quarterback and we want to be in a position to consistently compete.

    NJ Advance Media Eagles beat reporters Eliot Shorr-Parks and Matt Lombardo had live coverage of the press conference. Check out their Twitter feed below for a recap on what Roseman said.

    Here are five things to know about the Eagles' newest running back:

    1) Ajayi, 5-foot-11, 215 pounds, finished the 2016 season with 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns, as well as 27 catches for 151 yards. Although his 2017 season was not going great -- 465 yards on 138 carries -- he still steps onto this Eagles roster and is without question their most talented running back.

    After adding Jay Ajayi in a trade with the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Eagles now have a legitimate three-down back who transforms the offense this season and also has the chance to be the centerpiece of the backfield in 2018 and beyond.

    2) Ajayi, just 24 years old, registered three 200-yard rushing games in 2016, becoming just the fourth player in NFL history to accomplish the feat. His 200-yard games earned him three AFC Offensive Player of the Week awards and he was named Miami's 2016 Dan Marino Most Valuable Player.

    3) Ajayi has a cap hit of just $670,000 this season -- and that will be cut in half for the Eagles since the season in already eight games old. Ajayi is also on the books for the 2018 season, meaning the Eagles don't have to worry about losing him this offseason. His cap hit for 2018? Just $760,000, meaning the addition of Ajayi will have essentially no impact on their ability to re-sign their own players this offseason.

    4) The Eagles' depth chart at running back looks a lot different with Ajayi on it. The Eagles will likely lean on the duo of Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount, which on the surface seems to give them a nice one-two punch with players that have complementary games.

    5) The trade cost the Eagles one of their 2018 draft picks, and now they enter the 2018 NFL Draft with just three picks in the first four rounds -- a first-round pick, no second-round pick, no third-round pick and two fourth-round picks.


    Can't hardly wait !
    "E-A-G-L-E-S ... EAGLES!"


  2. #2
    I thought you'd like to know Ezekiel got 150 yards from scrimmage in Washington in the classic Sunday Night, but L.G. Blount only got 30 yards in half as many rushing attempts the weak err week before. Wonder why the Skins let him run around so much? That makes LGB look bad in comparison you know. Might have had a thing to do with the trade.

    Personally I think Blount is way better than Jay, but the power combination of them is better than either alone in the backfield.

  3. #3
    Head Coach Material Talon_60's Avatar
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    Coach said niners utilized run blitzes on almost every down . Birds adjusted to short passing game then hit 'em deep with Jeffery. After that Blunt jammed them , Clement got a couple of licks in too at the end .

    "E-A-G-L-E-S ... EAGLES!"


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