There it was last night. As part of the Eagles Sunday night 38-7 NFC Championship Game demolition of the Vikings, RB Jay Ajayi was making impact plays for his new team.
And now, he’s headed to Super Bowl LII.
This image from Philadelphia locker room says it all:
? chugging along pic.twitter.com/1MPt6P45Gs
— Chris Fischer NBC6 (@FischerNBC6) January 22, 2018
And, if you cup your ear towards South Florida, there will be some, on the radio, the internet, etc. who will suggest that the Dolphins should have never gotten rid of Ajayi.
And, they would be wrong.
Yes, Ajayi has had two mostly solid performances in Philly’s playoff wins over the Falcons (he had a critical fumble early also) and now, the Vikings. And, in particular he showed the speed and acceleration that Dolphins fans were wowed by in 2016.
His stats in the games? 33 carries 127 yards rushing and six catches for 70 yards receiving and zero TDs.
While solid, none of that is spectacular. Or, irreplaceable.
And, most importantly, let’s not revise history on why Miami was so eager to part with Ajayi during the season.
Remember, the October Thursday night 40-0 destruction the Ravens put on the Dolphins? How about, the day after when coach Adam Gase lit into his offense in general, but also into Ajayi specifically, without actually saying his name?
As we wrote then, Gase was critical of his work ethic, his lack of desire to help/get better with pass blocking and also, his lack of patience in running through the line while trying to run every run into a 60, 70 yarder.
It’s not a coincidence that three days later, Ajayi was headed to Philadelphia.
Gase also knew that he had young backs Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams, who were both better blockers, and better pass catchers to help the offense run better with QB Jay Cutler at the helm.
Drake ended up running for 600+ yards, including two 100 yard games, over the last nine games of the year after the trade. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry and he also caught 29 passes for 236 yards after the trade of Ajayi. Solid production in replacement.
Williams was effective for a couple of games before suffering a shoulder injury that basically wiped out the last six weeks of his season.
Look, no one is going to say that Gase and the Fins had a tremendous back waiting in the wings to replace Ajayi and be the top ball carrier for the next four to six years in Miami.
That’s not Drake or Williams.
And, Miami will look strongly in free agency and also in the upcoming Draft, where they are picking 11th to address whom that future back might be.
Now, you might want to argue that Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier should have gotten more than a conditional fourth round pick for Ajayi back in October.
That’s a different argument and has merit.
But also, remember the Dolphins offense was terrible, their season was going nowhere and their coach had publicly put Ajayi on blast, including questioning his work ethic. Add all that to medical reports that say Ajayi’s knee has chronic soreness that has effected him, even in Philadelphia, with being able to practice all the time, and they got what they got in the trade.
Yes, Ajayi is living a dream and playing in the Super Bowl.
And yes, the Dolphins had decided he wasn’t their future and wasn’t worth the headaches anymore.
There quest to find that guy in Miami is underway, again.
Dolphins got contributions everywhere in Sunday win
There were a lot of questions and plenty of reasons to doubt the Dolphins roster makeup, as 2018 was getting underway.
However, two games in, the Fins have been impressive, and earned their way to an unbeaten start. Their latest effort Sunday at The Meadowlands against AFC East rival Jets saw numerous players new and old step up.
Whether it was TJ McDonald’s early interception of New York rookie QB Sam Darnold, or Kenyan Drake weaving through the Jets front seven for the early score a short time later, Miami set the tone.
And then, when Kiko Alonso knocked the ball free from Jets receiver Robby Anderson and Raekwon McMillan recovered it, it was new free agent receiver Albert Wilson capitalizing here:
Can't catch @iThinkIsee12
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 16, 2018
It went for a 29-yard touchdown from QB Ryan Tannehill and Miami had command at that point at 14-0.
Tannehill spread the ball around to seven different receivers, and even found reserve A.J. Derby for a 19 yard touchdown, as the lead ballooned to 20-0 nothing.
Darnold ended with some decent yardage and a couple of second-half touchdowns, but the Dolphins registered four sacks and had three total takeaways to help put this one away.
Even ageless veteran Frank Gore got into the act. This as, the 35 year old moved into fourth place on NFL all-time rushing list trailing only Hall of Famers Barry Sanders Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith.
And late in the game caught a dump off pass from Tannehill and weaved through the Jet defense to pick up 3rd and 19, move the chains and allow Miami to run the clock out.
So the 2018 Dolphins don’t have Jay Cutler, Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh and some of the others from a team that struggled last year.
However, their new faces stepped in and stepped up Sunday on the road.
And Miami is now 2 – 0 for the first time since 2013, and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.
Gameday- Dolphins renew rivalry with Jets in New York
Who: Dolphins (1-0) at Jets (1-0)
Where: Met Life Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
When: Sunday 1 p.m.
Spread: Jets by 2.5 (Courtesy Vegasinsidercom)
Renewal of the Rivalry
There are no longer names like Shula, Namath and Marino, but the storied rivalry of the Dolphins and the Jets is five decades old. As AFC East Rivals since the early 1970’s, these teams and fan bases are familiar with each other for generations. Yes, grandads, dads and in some cases, great granddads have watched these two play. The Jets hold a 54-50-1 record all time, and that includes a decisive win in the Meadowlands last year. The Fins, however, won the rematch (Cutler at the helm) later in the year at Hard Rock Stadium.
Now, they play right away in 2018 and the winner maintains at least a tie for first in the division.
Tannehill looks to build on week one
It was a bizarre game last Sunday in the opener with Tennessee, as there were two lightning delays that lasted more than 3 1/2 hours. So, it’s tough to judge everything completely. However, QB Ryan Tannehill, off his ACL tear last August, was effective for a lot of the game (despite two picks) finishing 20-28 for 230 yards and two TDs. One was a second half 75 yard bomb to WR Kenny Stills as the Dolphins prevailed 27-20.
Will the Jets 3-4 defense be able to rattle him? Will Tannehill handle the pressure and be accurate. It’s not the only key, but a big one for the Fins.
Finally, will the Jets look like they did Monday night?
In a remarkable win on the road on Monday night, rookie Sam Darnold overcame a pick six TD in the first :20 of his NFL career to play effectively in the blowout win over the Lions. Darnold who was 16-21 with two TDs, will have to be solid in this one for the Jets.
The Dolphins pass rush led by Robert Quinn and Cam Wake will try to fluster him and create those bad throws from the USC rookie.
The Jets defense and special teams came up with big plays also against Detroit, as they pulled away in the second half for a 48-17 win. That included an interception and punt return TD in the second half.
Miami will need to keep the Jets from making the big play Sunday.
Report- Dolphins OL Josh Sitton out for season
The injury news is not good to wake up to on a Friday morning for Dolphins fans. Offensive lineman Josh Sitton will miss the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury, according to a report.
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald had the story first that Sitton, who missed practice this week with a shoulder injury, is going on injured reserve:
EXCLUSIVE…Key Miami Dolphins starter is out for the remainder of the season. What it meanshttps://t.co/Zox57wnlHP
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) September 14, 2018
Salguero wrote, that Sitton actually tore his rotator cuff at some point during the playing of the second half of Sunday’s game with Tennessee. Yet, the 11 year veteran continued to play through it. Further, Sitton had been exploring the option of continuing to play with the injury in the short term this week, etc. However, he was advised that if the shoulder was damaged more, that surgery might not be able to repair it and it would end his career.
Sitton is a four-time Pro Bowler who was originally drafted by Green Bay, but was signed by the Dolphins away from the Chicago Bears this past offseason. He was playing in the offense of then Bears, now Dolphins coordinator Dowell Loggains. And it made him attractive to sign by Miami in March.
Loggains told the media Thursday that Sitton’s injury and possible absence for this week’s game against the Jets creates a problem,
“Does it change things? Absolutely. If you didn’t have someone at any position, you look to (say), ‘How is this matchup going to affect us in the game?’”
Sitton, who had started 137 games in his career coming into this season, had also been a mentor to former #1 pick left tackle Laremy Tunsil.
Miami will now go to veteran journeyman guard Ted Larsen, who started eight games over the last couple of seasons for the Dolphins ,but has also battled nagging injuries throughout his career.
Jacksonville Jaguars7 days ago
Mystery continues but Jaguars Fournette not likely to play
Tampa Bay Buccaneers3 days ago
Arizona Uber driver sued Bucs Jameis Winston Tuesday
Florida State Seminoles6 days ago
FSU’s “Rag-tag” Taggart team tagged, flagged and bagged Saturday
Florida State Seminoles3 days ago
No, Florida State is not getting rid of Willie Taggart