Eagles running back Jay Ajayi states the play calls by the offensive staff in their 23-21 loss to Minnesota on Sunday didn’t “make sense” to him.
The Philadelphia Eagles currently sit at 2-3 and are not the balancing act that propelled them to Super Bowl glory last season.
Eagles running back Jay Ajayi appears to notice that all too well. The Eagles suffered a 23-21 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, and accumulated a total of 81 yards on 17 carries. From the perspective of Ajayi, the Eagles abandoned the run game when they should have leaned on the element to a lot more to win the game.
Ajayi expressed his thoughts on the offensive staff’s strategy, implying that he was confused with their rationale.
“Obviously we want to be able to run the ball early and start that rhythm early in the beginning of the game. If I remember correctly, we had maybe three carries at the end of the first quarter,” he told reporters afterwards.
“With the offensive line we have on this team, running the ball like that, that doesn’t make sense to me.”
Ajayi wouldn’t receive his first carry until the second quarter. To further prove Ajayi’s point, the Eagles averaged nearly five yards per carry for the game, but Eagles head coach Doug Pederson elected to put his trust in quarterback Carson Wentz.
The Eagles would end up calling 35 pass plays, doubling the number of run calls. But perhaps Ajayi is right in which the discrepancy in the play calling ended up hurting the Eagles in the end.
Last week, the Eagles were in a similar situation in which the pass plays (50) were called more often than the run (22) which led to a 26-23 overtime loss to the Titans. The Eagles was successful on the ground (5.3 yards per carry) but Pederson again went with Wentz to lead the team.
Thus, this is why identity is important in sports. The Eagles paved the way last season with a great balance between the run and pass, counter-attacking teams with the run-pass option. Perhaps, Pederson is trying to get his offense on the same page prior to Wentz’s injury last season, giving Wentz a heavy dose of pass plays. In the midst of that, the offense is getting off track, and Pederson must be more creative to get his quarterback, and his offense back in rhythm.
First order of business? Feature the run game again.