Jay Ajayi sustained a concussion during Miami Dolphins practice Monday, as feared, and he will miss at least a week of drills, sources familiar with the running back’s situation told The Miami Herald.
Although his concussion is considered mild, the Dolphins are wary of exposing the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher from a year ago to unnecessary contact. That is why once Ajayi is cleared to return to football activities, coaches are expected to be judicious with how much work Ajayi actually gets early in the preseason.
The Ajayi injury happened during a live tackling practice but it did not happen during a live contact period within the practice. The Dolphins were in a two-minute drill and Ajayi caught a pass. Safety T.J. McDonald rallied to the ball and bumped (thudded) Ajayi without taking him to the ground.
That is how the concussion happened.
Ajayi had a breakout season, but nearly 58% of his rushing yards came in four of his 15 games (against the Bills twice, the Steelers and the Jets). He averaged 6.74 YPC in those four weeks, and just 3.56 YPC in the other 11 games. Not coincidentally, three of those four big games came with center Mike Pouncey in the lineup, yielding a 5.96 YPC with Pouncey (versus 4.12 YPC without). As long as he and his offensive line can stay healthy, Ajayi should have a very productive 2017.