The Philadelphia Eagles are 2-3 after Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, meaning the reigning Super Bowl champions are hearing a lot of questions about what’s going wrong.
Some of the questions are coming from inside the locker room – and player who questioned the play-calling won’t be on the field to see if things change.
RB Jay Ajayi suffers torn ACL
Jay Ajayi, the fourth-year running back who had been playing through a transverse fracture in his back, now has a more significant injury: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Monday evening that Ajayi tore his ACL and is out for the rest of the season.
The Eagles announced around the same time that they’d placed Ajayi on injured reserve. As a fifth-round pick in 2015, this was a contract year for the 25-year-old.
Ajayi unhappy with workload
The Eagles made things interesting in the second half on Sunday, but even before they found themselves in a three-score hole midway through the third quarter, there wasn’t much commitment to the running game.
One of the men that usually gets the carries, Ajayi, noticed.
“Obviously we want to be able to run the ball early and start that rhythm early, in the beginning of the game,” Ajayi said after the loss, via ESPN. “If I remember correctly, we had maybe three carries at the end of the first quarter.
“With the offensive line that we have on this team, running the ball like that, that doesn’t make sense to me.”
Ajayi finished the day with eight carries for 29 yards.
Runs not called often
The Eagles went three-and-out on their first possession on Sunday, with two Carson Wentz pass attempts and a sack.
On their second possession, Wendell Smallwood picked up 5 yards on second-and-6, but rookie Josh Adams was dropped for a 1-yard loss on third down.
Ajayi got his first carry on the next drive, a 2-yard gain on the second snap. His second came on the ensuing possession, a 5-yard pickup. That drive ended with Wentz being strip-sacked by Stephen Weatherly; Wentz lost the ball and it was recovered by Linval Joseph (who gave us big man touchdown and big man recovery).
Despite being down 17-3 at the half, Philadelphia called seven run plays on the first drive of the third quarter and got within the shadow of the goal line – when Ajayi lost a fumble at the Minnesota 5.
“I can’t do that,” Ajayi said. “I pride myself on being elite. I want to be elite. I want to be the best. You can’t do that when your team is counting on you.”
In all the Eagles had 17 total carries for 81 yards, including five for 26 by Wentz.
But Ajayi likely won’t get in any hot water for questioning the play-calling: on Monday coach Doug Pederson said he agreed, and that the Eagles do need to run the ball more.
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