Jay Ajayi, Doug Pederson met to discuss RB's frustration

Jay Ajayi, Doug Pederson met to discuss RB's frustration

Jay Ajayi and Doug Pederson did have a brief meeting this week. 

It just wasn't a big deal, according to Ajayi. 

Pederson spoke to Ajayi on Monday morning and the two understood that Ajayi's frustration and sulky mood after Sunday's game stemmed from losing a fumble at the goal line in the fourth quarter against the Bears and wasn't a reaction to his limited play time. 

"He knew where it was coming from and obviously, I was just frustrated [about fumbling]," Ajayi said. "It wasn't really a big conversation. The message was, 'Move onto Seattle. It is what it is.'"

After Nelson Agholor jumped on the loose ball to recover it for a touchdown, Ajayi was seen where he fumbled, laying with his face down on the ground. Even as he walked on the sideline, cameras caught him shaking his head, visibly upset with himself. It was the fourth lost fumble of his career. 

To make matters worse, he knew he should have had a touchdown. 

As he spoke on Friday, though, Ajayi said he had moved on. The fumble didn't weigh on him during this week. 

"Obviously, during the game, I'm a very passionate player and I'm very hard on myself as well," Ajayi said. "I was definitely frustrated I wasn't able to finish the run. It was great blocking and it was basically just me and the end zone and I have to be able to finish in the open field. Knowing those guys might be coming to punch the ball out. It's a learning opportunity. As running backs, we're nothing without the football. It was just frustrating that I put the ball on the ground." 

Ajayi has carried the ball just 20 times through three games with the Eagles but could start to see an expanded role if the team decides to use him more on third downs. Corey Clement has been getting the bulk of third-down snaps, but Ajayi said he's good with protections, the most vital part of being on the field in those situations. 

With a three-man rotation, the Eagles will have three relatively fresh running backs now that the calendar has turned to December. 

"This is the month," Ajayi said. "When it comes down to playoff football and games that matter and games that count, it's always the big games that happen down the stretch. Kind of having that experience of having to go through some big games last year to make the playoffs, you understand how crucial every one of those games is. This one coming up this Sunday is a big one for us, big test. Away game in a crazy atmosphere. The challenge is ahead of us but we're excited for it."

Ajayi said that he would be fresh whether he carries the ball five times per game or 20. He prides himself on being fresh late into games and late into seasons. 

When asked if he'd like more carries, Ajayi, like he did after the game, said he just does whatever the coaches ask. 

"Obviously, you want to be able to get in a rhythm of the game and be able to feel how the game is going," he said. "But what we've been doing, it's been working. It's just how it's been going. Whenever your number gets called, make it count. And understanding that realistically the opportunities are limited. You gotta make sure you take advantage of them."

Eagles bring back special teams maven Bryan Braman

USA Today Images

Eagles bring back special teams maven Bryan Braman

The Eagles have brought back a former special teams ace for the stretch run. 

Special teamer Bryan Braman on Tuesday signed with the Eagles to rejoin Dave Fipp's special teams group.

Braman, 30, had been with the Eagles from 2014-16, when he was a major contributor for Fipp's top-end special teams unit. He can help fill the void left by the season-ending injury to Chris Maragos earlier in the season. 

During his three seasons with the Eagles, Braman led all Eagles with 1,214 special teams snaps. He played more special teams snaps than any other Eagle in each of the last two seasons. He played in all 48 games over those three seasons, but was mainly a special teams player. 

After officially placing quarterback Carson Wentz (ACL) on Injured Reserve Tuesday, the Eagles had one available roster spot. It looks like it will be filled by Braman. 

Braman was not resigned by the Eagles this past offseason. He spent some time in New Orleans but was placed on their IR and was then released. He hasn't been with a team since early September. 

Eagles' offense 'full steam ahead' with Nick Foles at QB

Eagles' offense 'full steam ahead' with Nick Foles at QB

Carson Wentz is out, Nick Foles is in. 

And the Eagles claim their offense isn't going to change. 

On it's face, that seems somewhat absurd. After all, Wentz is more than an average quarterback. He's the face of the Eagles' franchise and was an MVP candidate through 13 weeks. Foles was once a Pro Bowler, but there's a reason he wasn't a starter entering this season. 

So how will the offense look different? 

"I don't expect it will look different at all," Foles said adamantly.  

Why is that? 

"Because it's our offense," Foles answered. "This is the Eagles' offense. This is the one that is the DNA of this team. And we're going to do what we do. We have so many tremendous players on offense that can do a lot of different things. We just have to go out there and execute and have a great week of work and just keep moving." 

Offensive coordinator Frank Reich finally admitted that there will be "very minor tweaks" to the Eagles' weekly game plans with Foles in at quarterback. But he made the same point as Foles, that the system is built around the QB, but also around the other talent on offense. 

There is, however, one pretty significant difference between Wentz and Foles. 

"Now, Carson has some unique physical traits that he does exceptionally well, but it's nothing that Nick can't handle," Reich said. "We're full steam ahead."

The Eagles run plenty of run-pass option plays, but head coach Doug Pederson pointed out on Monday that the Eagles very rarely use their quarterback to run the ball in those situations. And as far as RPOs go, Foles has used them plenty before. 

Another part of the offense that has been tailored to Wentz is the autonomy the quarterback has at the line of scrimmage. Wentz has been able to make calls and checks pre-snap based on what the defense shows. It seems like Foles will have that same ability, which is something he's excited about. 

"Understand this, he's a veteran player who has played and won a lot of games, not only here, but other places that he's been," Pederson said. "Nick's a highly intelligent football player."

Pederson said he and Foles will talk weekly to make sure his quarterback is comfortable with the plays that go into the game plan. So, theoretically, things could be different. But based on what the offensive leaders of the team have said, don't expect wholesale changes. 

Now, what might change about the offense isn't necessarily by design. Because of Wentz's unique physical gifts and escapability, he's able to make incredible plays. The escape in Washington, the throw to Corey Clement in the end zone, the deep flick down the sideline in Seattle, those are plays only a handful of guys in the world can make. It would be unfair to expect Foles to make them. 

But as far as game-planning goes, the Eagles are going to do what they've done. 

"I feel comfortable in this offense," Foles said. "I love this offense. We're going to run this offense. Nothing's going to change."

Foles dealt with elbow soreness during the summer, but says his elbow now feels "amazing" and is not an issue. That's good news for the Eagles, because at least Foles has plenty of starting experience. His backup, Nate Sudfeld, has never even been active for an NFL game. 

The Eagles' hopes in 2017 rest on the shoulders of Foles. 

"I've always been a gunslinger, just let it rip," Foles said. "That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to play loose, count on the guys, lead this team. There's no other place I'd rather be. That's why I came back here. ... I'm ready to step up and help this team win."