The Jaguars will head into the offseason workout programs with a couple of players coming back from injuries. Both running backs, James Robinson and Travis Etienne are still making their way back from serious lower leg injuries; Robinson, an Achilles injury, and Etienne, a Lisfranc injury.
Robinson’s injury occurred near the end of the season, during the team’s 26-21 loss against the New York Jets on Dec. 26. Etienne’s injury would be sustained during the preseason of last year, able to only carry the football a couple of times.
Still, Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson remains hopeful and confident about the duo, with each expected to return to action at different times. The excitement about Etienne’s potential, which is why he was selected in the first round out of Clemson, remains.
“I mean, both of them are doing extremely well,” Pederson said when asked about the duo during this week’s NFL Owners League Meetings. “Travis [Etienne] will be able to work a little bit this offseason with us, get into some more, you know, football drill work. James [Robinson] would be a little more into training camp before we get him.
“But, it’s a really good kind of a one-two combination. There’s not a lot of tape on Travis, right, but just listening to the guy like Bernie Parmelee, my running back coach, just listening to him talk about Travis and some of the things that they did with him, you know, last year in camp, I think are some things that we see in him as an offensive staff.”
Pederson said that when healthy, the combination of the two backs is “really good.” Robinson offers more of an explosive, big-back mold of an RB that can compete on all three downs, while Etienne is a shifty, faster back that can make plays in the passing game, something the team has lacked for a while now.
At Clemson, Etienne rushed for 4,952 yards and 70 touchdowns. He caught 102 passes for 1,155 yards and eight touchdowns with the majority of that work coming during his final two years at the program. Etienne’s stats were unimaginable, rushing for 7.2 yards per carry in his career with an 8.1 YPC average in 2018.
Simply put, it’s easy to see why a team might be high on a player, even after suffering what many describe as a terrible foot injury for running backs.
Robinson is in a similar boat, with a lower leg injury, but he’s been a bell-cow for the Jaguars offense over the past couple of years since signing with the team as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft.
In his career, Robinson has rushed for an average of 4.5 YPC, with 1,837 yards on 404 attempts. He also has shown the ability to catch the football with 80 receptions for 566 yards and three touchdowns in his career.
Moving forward, the Jaguars are confident in their young backfield and will certainly look to add players at the position group. But, it is encouraging to hear that Etienne is likely to be ready for offseason workouts, while Robinson might be available closer to training camp. So far, so good.