After a breakout season where running back Jay Ajayi put himself in the same category as some of football's best rushers ever with two straight 200-yard rushing games, it's hard to imagine the soon-to-be 24-year old still has a lot of developing to do.
But nevertheless, according to offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen, if there's anything that can be taken away from OTAs, the former Boise State standout may actually have developed more than anyone else out on the field right now, which is an exciting concept to say the least.
"He may be the most improved guy out there this offseason. He has really been impressive." said Christensen. "It’s really hard to believe that I’ve only been here a year – we’ve only been here a year – and to think back a year ago what things were and Jay Ajayi being one of them.
"We’re going, ‘We’re not sure if we’ve got a starting running back. We’re not sure if we have a Pro Bowler or if we have any.’ We weren’t sure. No one knew. He looks like a pro. He just looks like a pro. His body looks like a pro, how he carries himself, how he handles himself, how he works, how he practices – he’s a different guy from a year ago."
Just a year ago, coach Adam Gase decided to leave Ajayi at home when the Dolphins opened up their season in Seattle against the Seahawks due to what could only be described as an attitude problem. Ajayi apparently felt entitled to the starting job and so Gase had to teach the young player a lesson.
Apparently, he's learned it, and has adopted a new approach to his career that has allowed him to improve in leaps and bounds.
"He has continued to climb and take his game to a new level." Christensen said. "That’s what we’re looking for. I do think he could carry it. He’s a big guy. He’s a physical guy. I was really impressed with him last year taking the beating he took, really, for the first time ever playing a 17-game season. He kept going and stayed strong. I kept looking for him to flinch and shy up from some hits, and he keeps going."
Early reports out of OTAs are that Ajayi has become a more complete running back since last season, meaning his versatility out of the backfield has improved. He's better at catching the ball, presumably he's better at blocking, and best of all, there's still more for the young back to improve on, which means in a couple of years, Miami could potentially have the best running back in football, if all goes the way everyone hopes.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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