For years, Dolphins fans have been begging for a head coach who is willing to bench a player if his performance and/or his attitude is worthy of such an action, and it's clear at this point that new head coach Adam Gase fits that description to a tee.
After failing to lock down the starting job during training camp and the preseason, second-year running back Jay Ajayi was reportedly unhappy with his demotion from the starter spot on the depth chart in favor of veteran Arian Foster, who is coming off of an achilles tear from the season before.
An anonymous player told the Miami Herald's Adam Beasley briefly discussed Ajayi situation, implying that the former Boise standout was disappointed that he wasn't named the starter over Foster.
“If you let it get the best of you, it shows,” the player said. “Let’s see what you’re made of.”
His potential for greatness is there, his production at Boise was what made him such a coveted draft prospect talent-wise, with only his injury history causing his stock to drop. However, Adam Gase has made it abundantly clear from the very start that players will have to earn their spots, and based on Ajayi's preseason performances, he didn't do enough, and Gase expected more.
“I was a little disappointed that he put the ball on the ground." Gase said after the final preseason game. "I feel like what he’s shown me in the spring and in training camp as far as being a guy that is reliable in the passing game. I don’t know the exact ball placement on second down – I’m not sure if it was behind him or if he dropped it – I know I have a lot of faith, even if the ball’s off target, he usually makes that play.
"I know it’s the fourth preseason (game). Everyone kind of looks at this game and shrugs their shoulders but any time you walk on that field it’s important. I would’ve liked to see him not – I don’t think we saw a ball on the ground the entire preseason as far with the running backs. To have that happen, I guess I expect better from him. I have higher standards for him.”
As a result, Gase has decided to leave Ajayi behind in Miami, making him a healthy scratch from Sunday's game. Foster, Damien Williams and presumably Kenyan Drake will have to find a way to pick up the slack.
If players want to play during Adam Gase's regime, they'll have to earn the right. Ajayi is the first one to fall victim to that philosophy, but only time will tell if he's also the last.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater
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