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Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette reflects on last week’s struggles

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The Jaguars running back spoke with Raiders legend Marcus Allen after last week’s issues

NFL: New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

In 25 years of playing football, the Jaguars have never rushed the ball as few times as they did last Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. The team ran the ball only nine times in a game which they trailed by only three points to end the first half. Now, after revisiting the game, the Jaguars are ready to right the ship, and get back to doing what they’ve historically done best.

Running the football just eight times last week, running back Leonard Fournette was understandably visibly frustrated after the game last Sunday. The Jaguars did not utilize him as they’ve done in the past, and it marked his lowest snap-percentage of the season at 71% of the team’s offensive snaps last week.

Fournette says while he was frustrated with the way the offense got away from the run last week, he did not let it simmer into this week. “I had a long talk with the coaches. The most, certainly the talk I had was with my dad,” Fournette said shortly after practice on Thursday. “I think he kind of put everything in perspective with me. Also I talked to Marcus Allen this week, so I think those guys put a lot of things in [perspective] for me.”

The Jaguars’ running back has known former Raiders-legend running back Marcus Allen since his sophomore year of high school when he visited USC as a potential fit for his collegiate career. The two stayed in touch and got together this week which Fournette says was mostly about staying focused.

Fournette’s connection to Allen doesn’t stop there, however. Jaguars’ running back’s coach Terry Robiskie coached the hall-of-fame running back from 1989-1992 as the team’s offensive coordinator.

“He (Allen) had to play fullback when Bo came in. So kind of opened my eyes, you know? Whenever is going through something a lot, most people have gone through it worse. So kind of brushed it off when I heard his narrative, his story. Just talking to my daddy, he’s always been there for me, so his words mean more than anybody else’s words, to be honest.”

From players to coaches, the Jaguars understand how necessary it will be this week to establish the run against a team like the Tennessee Titans. Jaguars’ offensive coordinator John DeFilippo accepted responsibility for the lack of rushing plays — much like head coach Doug Marrone — on Thursday. “There are some things that I wish I would have done different there,” DeFilippo said on Thursday. “Especially early in the second half. You go back and learn from, and you discuss it, and you move forward, and that’s all you can do.”

DeFilippo says the team needed to do a better job of staying on the field last week. With only 21 plays in the first-half before the two-minute warning, there weren’t enough plays to go around, according to the team’s offensive coordinator.

“So when you go back and look at it, we need to do a better job of staying on the field and converting third downs because when you do that, you have more plays and you can run the ball more and you can throw the ball more and you can have more offense.”

The Jaguars passed the football 19 times in the first half last week, which accounted for 124 yards, one touchdown, and an interception out of veteran quarterback Nick Foles. Conversely, they run the football only six times for 30 yards. While DeFilippo says the team was inefficient on third down, the Jaguars converted six out of 14 on the day (43%).

Nevertheless, the Jaguars, and Fournette hopes to get the ball rolling this week in Nashville. Staying level headed, as his father Leonard Fournette II told him, will be the key to this week’s matchup. Whether or not the Jaguars will change their ways remains to be seen.

“Like I said, we all sat down and talked, tried to get our plan together. We’re going to see coming out this Sunday.”