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Eagles HC Doug Pederson says Jay Ajayi is No. 1 back heading into training camp

Jay Ajayi, Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles have entered the offseason with a bit of clearer picture in the backfield following the departure of LeGarrette Blount via free agency to the Detroit Lions.

It has left the starting job up for grabs in the offseason workouts that Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi has apparently earned that opportunity as head coach Doug Pederson clarified just that on Thursday morning, according to Jeff Kerr of CBS 247 Sports.

Ajayi has shown in his brief time with the Eagles that he can be an effective option in the running game that saw him gain 408 rushing yards on 70 attempts that pushed him to average 5.8 yards per carry in seven games in the regular season. He was also a valuable asset in the playoffs rushing for 184 yards in three games despite splitting carries with Blount.

Although the Eagles will continue to take the running back by committee approach, Ajayi will have a chance to lead the charge while putting together a strong 2018 campaign. In the last couple of seasons, he has proven to be a highly effective option in the running game in a significant role that has seen put up more than 2,000 rushing yards in the last two years.

The 24-year-old will play a key role in helping bring balance to the offense that was critical last season that helped them win a Super Bowl while alleviate much of the pressure off the starting quarterback be it Carson Wentz or Nick Foles.

What has also likely encouraged the Eagles with this decision is that Ajayi has shown much comfort in the team’s offensive game plan. With the running back situation in the backfield looking to be sorted out, it should allow for the focus to shift back to getting Wentz back in the fold before the start of the regular season.