#2 running back battle

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#2 running back battle

Post by JMP on Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:46 am

Everything I've read so far indicates that Damien Williams is leading the battle to be Lamar Miller's backup. Lamichael James has also looked good (as I'd expect without pads or real contact...) The odd man out so far seems to be rookie Jay Ajayi. Reading Armando's take (see link below), Ajayi so far sounds like Daniel Thomas 2.0...a bigger back that plays small and lacks toughness. I had low expectations for Ajayi from day one, so this doesn't surprise me.

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/2015/08/miami-dolphins-scrimmage-primer-important-night-for-couple-of-players.html

Armando wrote:Ajayi came to the Dolphins in the last draft with the promise of being a physical, hard-knocking, capable pass protector who offers a bigger alternative to what the Dolphins have on the roster.

But then training camp started.

And I haven't seen the 6-foot, 220-pound running back resemble anything like the battering ram I expected to see. He's not soft. But he's not John Riggins, either, at this point.
I also haven't seen him do great work in blitz pickup. He sometimes gets it right. He often does not.

So where does that leave Ajayi?

Well, he's on the team. Somewhere. His potential and draft status pretty much grandfathers him in somewhere. I don't think there's much doubt about that. But active on game days? A factor of any significance?

Not at this point.

The only way Ajayi changes that is to start showing he can run over some people, especially on short-yardage and goal line situations, and also can be a brick wall of sorts in pass protection. In other words, the man has got to get physical.

Ajayi has to use the increase in physical contact to distinguish himself. He's running third and often fourth team so far. That's not good enough, especially when the team will likely go to games with only three running backs active.


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Re: #2 running back battle

Post by mercury22nathan on Fri Aug 07, 2015 12:12 pm

hmm, so let's see, here's portions of Dane Brugler's pre-draft scouting report on Ajayi:

Has added bulk to his frame and runs hard, but lacks ideal power to consistently run through arm tackles as an inside runner. Needs to break more tackles and not allow ankle biters to bring him down. Relies too much on bouncing runs outside and will get himself in trouble trying to string runs out.

Plays too fast at times and needs to better avoid bodies in tight spaces. Good, but not great, speed and can be caught from behind. Prefers to run away from contact at times and will lose yardage. Needs to improve his ball security with 12 career fumbles (seven lost). Appears to wear down late in games, taking a lot of hits in Boise State's offense with a heavy volume of touches the past two seasons. Needs work in pass protection with his technique and strength to sustain both lacking.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1825212/jay-ajayi

lacks power...check
easy to tackle...check
bounces outside too much...check
lack of speed...check
avoids contact...check
fumbles...check
lack of stamina...check
poor pass protection...check

yep, sounds just like Daniel Thomas. i wonder why Dane could see all this, but the Miami scouts couldn't - and now the coaches are getting to see it first hand.

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Re: #2 running back battle

Post by JMP on Fri Aug 07, 2015 12:30 pm

It's crazy how the Phins scouts are constantly adding big players that are weak and soft, particularly at OL, TE and RB, and it's been happening for a long time - which leads me to believe that it's the scouting department. Whether it's Daniel Thomas, Jonathan Martin, Michael Egnew, Arthur Lynch, Dallas Thomas and now Jay Ajayi (and hopefully not Jamil Douglas)...it seems to be a pattern. I think part of it has to do with a focus on athleticism over football.

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Re: #2 running back battle

Post by mercury22nathan on Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:15 pm

yep, we all know what a waste of a second round pick J. Martin was and now he's out of football, but speaking of Egnew...

...the Steelers released tight end Michael Egnew...

A third-round pick of the Dolphins in 2012, Egnew appeared in 16 games for the Dolphins in 2013. Cut in August 2014 by the Dolphins, he bounced from the Lions to the Jaguars before being released from Jacksonville’s practice squad on September 24 and spending the rest of the year out of football.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/08/02/steelers-dump-michael-egnew/

what were the Phins thinking wasting a 3rd round pick on a guy that can't even stick on some of the worst rosters in the NFL?

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Re: #2 running back battle

Post by mercury22nathan on Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:18 pm

and while we're on the topic of failed draft picks and the RB competition...

He [Philbin] also mentioned Mike Gillislee’s work in the red zone, though he’s seemingly a long shot to stick.

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/sports-buzz/2015/08/thursday-report-dolphins-practice-nuggets-injury-updates-goldens-thoughts-after-day-1-of-camp.html

Gillislee is another one.

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Re: #2 running back battle

Post by JMP on Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:22 pm

Gillislee remains a major head-scratcher for me. The guy clearly never possessed NFL talent - he never should have been drafted, and if the Phins didn't take him there's no doubt in my mind that no other team would have. It's mind-boggling that the Phins thought he was draft-worthy. And this isn't hindsight - I said this the second he was selected.

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