Yesterday, ESPN tweeted out a graphic displaying who the best teams in the NFL were in allowing their running backs to get yards before initial contact. The Jacksonville Jaguars weren’t in the top 10 (and therefore not on the list) but when asked they confirmed the team was 14th in the league with 2.82 yards per carry before contact.
Currently, these teams are averaging the most yards before contact per rush: #GiantsPride #RedSea #Skol #RavensFlock #KeepPounding #GoBills #Browns #DallasCowboys #GoNiners #RaiderNation #WeAreTexans @gregcosell | @MattBowen41 pic.twitter.com/F717gVygtu— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) October 7, 2019
That’s pretty average — and, frankly, I expected it to be a lot worse. And it probably would be if Gardner Minshew hadn’t broken off a few big runs to start the season.
But then today, ESPN added to that stat this one — yards after contract. And guess what... your Jaguars are the best in the league with an astounding 2.66 yards per carry after contact.
Yesterday, we looked at rush yards before contact. Here are the teams averaging the most yards AFTER contact per rush so far this season: #DUUUVAL #WeAreTexans #Titans #KeepPounding #LARams #OnePride #DallasCowboys #HTTR #Seahawks #Skol @gregcosell | @MattBowen41 pic.twitter.com/VLPsdKjY9Y— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) October 8, 2019
It’s not just the fact the Jaguars are the best in the league that’s impressive, it’s by how much they’re number one in the league. We’re talking 0.01 yards per carry that separates some of these places and here’s Jacksonville getting more than a full half-yard more than the team in second place and nearly a full yard better than the 10th best team.
So, what does this mean?
Well, for starters, the offensive line and the run blocking is a problem. While 2.82 yards per carry before contact isn’t awful, it’s not great. And when you consider how much has been invested in this offensive line, it’s downright terrible.
But more importantly, it shows just how much better Leonard Fournette has gotten this year. He’s averaging 5.2 yards per carry and he’s creating yards after contact despite an average performance from his offensive line.
Rejoice. The run game is doing very well — and a former No. 4 overall draft pick is looking more and more, week to week like he was worth such an investment.