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Thread: Eagles set themselves up for exciting stretch run with trade

  1. #1
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    Smile Eagles set themselves up for exciting stretch run with trade

    mcall.com
    Nick Fierro

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Fittingly, the Philadelphia Eagles became a much scarier team on Halloween. Perhaps the scariest in football.

    If they had one glaring weakness on their way to an NFL-best record of 7-1 in the first half of the season, it was their running backs picking up blitzers who have been increasingly coming after quarterback and future MVP Carson Wentz since Darren Sproles was lost for the season.

    With the acquisition of Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi, a man's man at 6 feet, 220 pounds, for the ridiculously low price of a fourth-round draft pick, the Eagles on Tuesday believe they can either reverse that trend or make opponents pay dearly if they keep it up.

    They're not worried about strong hints coming out of Miami that they're getting either damaged goods — Ajayi's knees were thought to be shot even before he was drafted by the Dolphins out of Boise State in 2015 — or a malcontent who wants the ball all the time like Ricky Watters did or someone who doesn't know what he's doing as a blocker or all of above.

    Ajayi fits the Eagles' culture in every which way, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman insisted after pulling the trigger on the deal.

    Considering all Roseman has accomplished since returning from his 2015 exile just in time to repair the damage former coach Chip Kelly did, it would be hard to doubt him.

    Besides, if he’s wrong, it only cost them a fourth-round pick, and Ajayi won’t be here very long anyway if that proves to be the case. The Eagles have too much of a good thing going now to allow a cancer to develop.

    Ajayi has 465 yards rushing and is averaging 3.4 yards per carry with no touchdowns. But he went to the Pro Bowl after last last season, in which he had three 200-yard games en route to 1,272 rushing yards.

    Dolphins coach Adam Gase pointed a finger square at Ajayi last week, after they were embarrassed by Baltimore in a 40-0 romp.

    “The running back, we never blocked the right guy,” Gase said. “I don’t even know if we know who we’ve got. We've got to get that fixed.”

    Funny how Roseman is confident the Eagles have the right man in Ajayi to fix their identical problem.

    “He’s done well [in pass protection],” Roseman said. “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 [Scouting] 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.”

    A day earlier, coach Doug Pederson stressed the need for caution when making deals at the trade deadline.

    “It has to be the right fit,” he said. “It can't just be anybody. From my standpoint, you don't want to disrupt the chemistry that is going on in the dressing room right now. Those guys are playing with a lot of confidence and they're rallying around each other so it would have to be a pretty special fit to make it work.”

    If Ajayi checks those boxes, the Eagles could just as easily go 7-1 in the second half of the season too.

    That would mean … well, everyone knows what that would mean.

    No guarantees, though.

    Ajayi last year helped the Dolphins reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008. He also joined O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell and Tiki Barber as the only players to rush for 200 yards three times in a season.

    Born in London, Ajayi wasn't drafted until the fifth round in 2015 because of a knee issue, but he has averaged 18 carries a game the past two seasons and has made 19 consecutive starts. Ajayi has been held out of practice a lot this year to protect his knees, and the Dolphins almost certainly had doubts about his longevity.

    The Eagles hope he has more than a few years left. But really, this move was mostly just about this year. Rare is the case when any team wins seven of its first eight games, and the Birds want to maximize their chances to keep this thing rolling all the way through to February.

    Roseman believes Ajayi will help with that.

    Again, it would be awfully difficult to question his judgment anymore.


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


  2. #2
    A-Jay's knees were never at issue in Miami, this is the first I've heard of it. He can upset the coach here though, sure enough that was the reason for Miami to fire him off to Phil in the Eagles roster. The damn Fins couldn't get any blocking for the QB for their RB, so why bother having a RB at all? Any good RB hates to run out of a bad line.

    Remember Ricky Williams suspension? Well that happened the same year that Rick Spielman put four new starters in the line, almost the entire crew rookies. Go find out how many sacks our QB's took that year, they'd gone thru three QB's, and that's the emerging situation here.

    In Phil. you have good luck getting backs from Miami. Ronnie Brown if I'm not mistaken, was the prototype for Blount. Blount must be a great blocker, A-Jay will like that.

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