The threshold of doubt towards the Philadelphia Eagles has grown considerably higher after this weekends loss to the Minnesota Vikings, which puts them under the .500 mark, at (2-3). Adding insult to injury, news broke earlier this week of starting running back, Jay Ajayi, tearing his ACL. Ironically, the report surfaced just hours after he openly criticized head coach, Doug Pederson, for not giving him enough touches out of the backfield.
The injury serves as a huge blow for the promising back. At just 25 years old, Ajayi subjectively still has the time to play a few more years. However, the running back has had a fair share of injury concerns throughout his career. Ever since Ajayi declared for the NFL draft out of Boise State, teams stayed away from picking him early because of a chronic knee condition. Reports describe his knee condition as “bone on bone.” This terms refers to the rubbing away of cartilage that exposes the joints and bones in the knee, which induces a significant amount of pain even when walking. Another point to note is Ajayi’s size at just under 225 pounds will make his recovery slightly longer because of the great amount of force he puts on his knee. His style of running relies on him being able to bounce lightly on his feet for a split second till he can burst through an open seam; this type of play also comes with its fair share of wear and tear.
Looking ahead, the Eagles don’t have the most proven options to fall back on. The names that come to mind are Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement, and an injured Darren Sproles. Sproles is known for his receiving skills, Smallwood tends to get the most carriers, and in short, Clement is a hybrid of the two. Sproles wont see the field this Thursday as the Eagles take on division east rival, the New York Giants, but a return from Corey Clement is confirmed.
This all being said, the New York giants come into this matchup with the 28th ranked rushing defense in the league. There may be some potential value rolling with Smallwood at the flex position; however, if one was on the fence between Smallwood and a more consistent flex option, the answer wouldn’t be an Eagles running back.