Barry Jackson

Dolphins plan running back by committee, defend Ajayi

With Arian Foster still hobbled by a strained groin (he wasn’t seen at practice Thursday), the Miami Dolphins are sticking with Jay Ajayi, who averaged 2.7 yards per carry in preseason, 2.8 on five carries Sunday.
With Arian Foster still hobbled by a strained groin (he wasn’t seen at practice Thursday), the Miami Dolphins are sticking with Jay Ajayi, who averaged 2.7 yards per carry in preseason, 2.8 on five carries Sunday. adiaz@miamiherald.com

A six-pack of Thursday Dolphins notes:

• With Arian Foster still hobbled by a strained groin (he wasn’t seen at practice Thursday), why are the Dolphins sticking with Jay Ajayi, who averaged 2.7 yards per carry in preseason, 2.8 on five carries Sunday and has fumbles in his past two games (the preseason finale and this past Sunday against New England)?

“He is making the most of his carries,” offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said Thursday. “[We’re] not saying, ‘Boy he’s missing the hole.’ He has made the most of his carries. I haven’t thought there’s stuff there and he hasn’t gotten out of it. We felt he’s running well.”

But Christensen also said: “Jay can’t lay it on the ground.”

Ajayi has a 3.7 career rushing average. ESPN’s KC Joyner told us that Ajayi had poor blocking on the majority of his carries last season but had a high per carry average (over eight) on the limited number of plays when he had good blocking.

• Regarding the running game, Christensen said: “Right now, it’s going to be by committee. We have a bunch of guys with a unique set of talent. I feel anxious to get it going. It makes everything easier. We have not supported our defense.”

Kenyan Drake also is expected to get a good amount of work Sunday.

• With the Dolphins playing Cleveland this week, we wonder: Can tight end Jordan Cameron ever be close to the player who caught 80 passes for 917 yards (from Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden) for the Browns in 2013?

He has caught 7 of 10 passes thrown to him this season and is on a pace for 56 catches and 440 yards after catching 35 for 386 last year.

Christensen said he had no answer for that. But he said: “He’s playing a lot better than when we first got here. We are in desperate need of playmakers. We need to get big plays out of him.”

Ryan Tannehill said: “We’re trying to get him involved a little more. He is such a talented athlete. He runs extremely well, has good hands and can do some really good things. It has been a work in progress trying to get him involved in the offense. I think last week we saw that (he) had a touchdown catch down in the red zone, and it’s something we’re going to be looking for more of as we move forward.”

• Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said his vision for linebacker Donald Butler is to play him two series in each half, one replacing Jelani Jenkins and one replacing Koa Misi.

• Why exactly did Ndamukong Suh leave the game for a couple plays on New England’s clock-consuming late drive?

“Most defensive lines have a rotation,” Joseph said. “Once it gets past five or six snaps, it is tough to play at a high level. It was a six play sequence, came out for two. [Suh has] played the most snaps in the league [among defensive tackles]. I am not concerned about that. We have guys who are NFL players. They should go in and do their jobs.”

By the way, Joseph said “Suh has played really well. Kiko Alonso has played really well. Our problem in the run game has been the edges. We have to do a better job. That’s an issue we have to rectify quickly.”… Joseph said cornerback Xavien Howard “has played really well for a rookie.”

• Christensen said when Tannehill runs the ball, “I start holding my kidney. You appreciate him throwing his body around. That’s what you sell – throw your body on the barbed wire. Let’s try not to hit the middle of the barbed wire. We have a better chance to win if he’s healthy.”

• Special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi said Walt Aikens “has taken on a leadership role on special teams. I don’t think there’s anybody who’s had a better offseason. I’ve seen a lot of maturity out of Walt since he’s been there. Teams are game-planning against Walt Aikens. A lot of times he will get two blockers on him.”

But he’s not getting work on defense.

• Please click here for a six-pack of UM football nuggets today, including a recruiting update on several fronts. And please follow me on Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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