DAVIE — Ever since Adam Gase talked about giving Jay Ajayi 25 carries in a game, the running joke has been whether Ajayi could handle a pace for 400 carries in a season, which Gase somehow morphed into 450 carries.
But Gase was serious Monday when it was pointed out (in jest) that Ajayi’s 28 carries in the opener against the Chargers is a pace for 448.
“We have a good plan going forward,” Gase said. “We’ve just got to keep an eye on him. We’ll have some days where we rest him and just make sure he’s getting back to full strength for the next week.”
Miami had Ajayi on an exercise bike during today’s practice.
Kenyan Drake had only one carry and Damien Williams had none, but don’t expect that to continue.
“Hopefully as the season goes on, we can start moving some guys in and out,” Gase said.
Why didn’t that happen in the 19-17 victory over the Chargers? Because Ajayi wouldn’t let it.
“I am aware that that was a lot of carries,” Gase said. “He played a lot of snaps but he was a hard guy to get out of the game because he wasn’t really willing to come out of the game. I think he felt like it was tight and we needed him in that first game.”
It obviously worked. Ajayi finished with 122 yards, a 4.4 average and a long run of 20. He’s leading the NFL in average rushing yards per game. He’s also the only back averaging more than 23 carries per game.
The Dolphins ran 32 times and threw 34 times against Los Angeles.
“I was happy that we were balanced,” Gase said. “That was good. It was one of those games where it easily could have become (one in which we) started throwing the ball too much, especially towards that last two minutes. Our faith in him is very high.”
Don’t count on Ajayi getting a breather Sunday against New York. The Jets are last in the NFL, allowing an average of 185 rushing yards per game and a massive 5.4 per carry. They have allowed five runs of 20 or more yards and two of 40-plus.
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