The Jacksonville Jaguars offense in 2019 has been a pretty wild ride of some exciting plays, long boring droughts and heart pounding last minute magic, but through the past month or so there has always been one consistent.
Running back Leonard Fournette.
If you told me that before the season, I would have laughed.
I’ve seen quite a few people say that Fournette is finally back to his 2017 form as a rookie, but in all honesty I completely disagree with that. That’s not giving him enough credit. Fournette has transformed into a punishing consistent running back that helps the Jaguars not only sustain drives, but grind out other teams.
“I don’t know if [the expectations] get higher. I know that he’s really doing a nice job for us. He’s second in the NFL in rushing. I really think as the game’s going on, he’s getting stronger,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said on Monday when asked about Fournette raising expectations. “You look at what he’s done in the second half and his second half yards are leading the league. The one thing is, is that because he’s doing such a good job of running the football and just overall all-purpose, it becomes more challenging each week, more teams are going to focus on him, so we have to do a good job as coaches and we need other guys to step up and go, and that’ll keep his production high. I think that if it’s just him, that’s going to be tough for us.”
The Jaguars offensive line seems to finally getting in a groove in the run game and opening some holes, but the biggest change has been Fournette figuring out his running style and embracing it. He’s going to beat some defenders to the sideline and cut off the angle, but not as much as he did in college at LSU and you can see he’s starting to be aware of that.
His cuts and decisions are becoming more precise and quick and it’s helped in his production tenfold. He’s currently second in the NFL in rushing yards and averaging 5.0 yards per carry, which seemed unfathomable just three months ago.
While rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II is deservedly getting a lot of the accolades on the offensive side of the ball for his heroics, Fournette has kind of been the vital cog of the offensive machine, keeping everything going.