DAVIE, Fla. — There’s a lot of good to rehash about the season Jay Ajayi had for the Miami Dolphins in 2016, but it’s worth going all the way back to the bad beginning if you really want to understand why it might be sustainable.
Remember? All the way back in Week 1, when first-time head coach Adam Gase decided to leave Ajayi home for the team’s season-opening road trip to Seattle because of the way Ajayi was handling a reduced role behind veteran Arian Foster? It might not be Ajayi’s favorite 2016 memory (certainly it trails his three 200-yard games), but it’s an important one.
“Week 1 made me who I am,” Ajayi said after Dolphins practice Friday. “It happened, and it kind of, I would say, maybe set a fire. Or just kind of reset in my mind, ‘OK, what do you want to do?'”
As the season wore on and Ajayi racked up 1,155 yards in the Dolphins’ final 11 regular-season games, this looked like a bit of coaching genius on the part of Gase. But the young coach says he’d probably handle things differently if he had it to do again.
“I think I would have changed a couple of things,” Gase said. “We probably would have had the same result, but … I was very aggressive as far as how I handled the situation. It is what it is. We’ve both talked about it, both learned from it, and there’s a really good mutual respect there where we both understand, ‘Hey, I could have handled my end better, you could have handled your end better,’ but we ended up patching all of that stuff up and he did a great job of wiping that away and then coming back to work and doing a great job.”
Gase said Ajayi “had been the starter almost from the spring on and we…
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