With Dolphins mini-camp slated to begin Tuesday, one aspect to continue to watch is the increased use of Jay Ajayi in the Fins passing game.
As much as he was a workhorse a year ago “toting the rock,” Ajayi was only a minimal threat on receptions in 2016. Ajayi had 260 carries in his 15 games, but only 27 catches. This is not something that is lost on head coach Adam Gase and offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen. Both have made it no secret that they want improvement and they want to make a conscious effort to get Ajayi more involved, especially on third down.
Christensen gushed last week about Ajayi’s development at this time in 2017 vs. the off season a year ago. And he particularly talked about the way he looks this off season, “he just looks like a pro. His body looks like a pro, how he carries himself, how he handles himself, how he works, how he practices – he’s a different guy from a year ago.”
If you are curious, and we at F.F.I. were, Ajayi was actually an excellent pass catching threat at Boise State. He had 50 receptions over 14 games in his final season (2014) for the Broncos averaging 11 yards per catch and four receiving TDs. Go back to his previous year and he caught an additional 22 balls, and those numbers show promise.
This was on top of the over 1,800 yards he amassed rushing in his final season for Boise. That means it wasn’t like he was a seldom used back or sharing time in the run game. He demonstrated being the same type of every down back that the Dolphins want him to be now.
So, the potential is definitely there for Ajayi. It’s up to him to become that weapon, when it’s second and third and long and Ryan Tannehill and Co. are faced with obvious passing situations.