Miami Dolphins

Michael Robinson on pal Jay Ajayi: Taking criticism, running disrespected and more

Only Ricky Williams has run for more yards in a Dolphins uniform than Jay Ajayi did in 2016.
Only Ricky Williams has run for more yards in a Dolphins uniform than Jay Ajayi did in 2016.

Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi is “one of the premier shotgun runners in our league,” according to NFL Network’s Michael Robinson, who become sort of an unofficial tutor for Ajayi.

Robinson said the two met when Ajayi visited NFL Network a few months back.

“I actually offered a little criticism from what I saw on film,” said Robinson, who had an eight-year NFL career before becoming an analyst. “And to his credit, he was like, 'OK, you're for real. You really watch film, because I was thinking the same thing.' We got to talking running backs and football, and he knew what I did in college as a quarterback, and knew what I did in the league, and we kind of developed a little bit of a friendship.”

The criticism? That Ajayi was spending too much time dancing around the backfield. Robinson told him he needed to be a more efficient runner.

Ajayi took the advice to heart, and perhaps as a result, ran for 1,272 yards in 2016 -- the third-most by any Dolphins running back in a season.

“I saw a kid who was on a mission to prove something,” Robinson said. “I felt like he wanted to prove that he belonged in this league. He felt like early on the season, he was a little disrespected. he ran like he felt he was disrespected.”

Robinson continued: “He's one of our premier shotgun runners in our league, and I say that [even though] he's a young guy. I talk to him all the time, and I'm always telling him how to be more of an efficient runner, to take some of the hits off him, because he wants to be around until his 30s. The way that that kid breaks arm tackles, his nickname was the A-Train, he really does run through the line of scrimmage, especially the tackles, like a train. He's a real hard tackle for a secondary defender.”

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley