In June, Doug Pederson said that Jay Ajayi would be the lead back in the rotation going into training camp.
Ajayi certainly deserved the promotion as he showed in 2017 he could be effective in this Eagles offense. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry in seven regular-season games after he was traded here from Miami.
"Basically it's the guy we'll roll with in this offense," Ajayi said Friday about taking the lead role. "The guy who will keep us moving, [keep] the flow of the game going and make big plays for the team."
Maybe Ajayi can get back to his 2016 form in which he ran for 1,272 yards (fourth-best in the league). He wouldn’t reveal how many touches he’d like to get per game, but Ajayi wants to be considered a consistent option in the offense.
“I like to feel a part of the game," he said. "I like to feel like I’m doing something going into the fourth quarter, especially in close games, because I feel like I do a great job of wearing defenses down.”
Ajayi misses LeGarrette Blount, who was his mentor when he arrived. He even calls Blount his brother.
But Ajayi still has Duce Staley to lean on.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a running back coach in my career who actually played the position," Ajayi said. "Now I’ve got one that’s actually played in the NFL. Just him telling me the little tidbits of how to attack a defense, and how to stick one way while getting a defense to move another way. His knowledge of the game and defenses allows me to be smarter out there and helps me know what’s coming even before it happens.
"All of those things are going to help me be a better player and teammate. It’s been a great opportunity for me to learn from him."