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2022 Jaguars depth chart: Running back the only real surprise

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Happy Jacksonville Jaguars Eve to all who celebrate!

It’s preseason szn. In fact, it’s pre-preseason szn as the Jaguars are playing in the only Week 0 game this season—the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. That’s what happens when you have Tony Boselli entering those hallowed halls.

With an early preseason matchup on deck, it’s time to run the all-important First Depth Chart under the microscope and see if there are any surprises. Aaaaaaand it’s about what we expect. Trevor Lawrence is QB1, the team is making do with what they have at wide receiver, Evan Engram is over Dan Arnold, and they’re using the exhibition to try out a few different combinations at wide receiver.

Running back, however.

Running back is interesting.

James Robinson is RB1. There’s none of this “well, James Robinson is 1A and Travis Etienne is 1B” nonsense. There’s a starter and then there are backups, with the current line of thinking being that Travis Etienne will figure more into the passing game.

What’s interesting is that this coaching staff already believes in James Robinson to be their bell-cow back despite being limited in practice due to an Achilles injury he suffered at the end of last season. He’s less than eight months removed from something that has ended NFL careers and up against a former first-round pick in Travis Etienne, and he’s still the guy that Doug Pederson & Co. will lean on in the running game.

And Travis Etienne has had a good camp! He looks fully recovered from his Lisfranc injury and the coaching staff said his being out tomorrow night in the preseason opener is more about them being cautious than anything the Clemson product has or hasn’t done on the practice field.

So, a big vote of confidence for James Robinson despite Travis Etienne’s solid training camp.

Now we come to the backups. It was expected that Ryquell Armstead, a running back with plenty of real, live, NFL experience, has been relegated to tied for fourth-string with Mekhi Sargent and Nathan Cottrell.

That leaves rookie Snoop Conner all by himself at the RB3 position—a spot that will get more reps than usual due to the injuries that both running backs ahead of him are recovering from and the offensive game plans that will surely have Travis Etienne on the field more often than most backup running backs.

While the regular season is still more than a month away, and the way these running backs are used could end up looking more 1A/1B than a simple depth chart, the point is that the Jaguars are committed to James Robinson as the leader in that running backs room and they have enough confidence in fifth-round rookie Snoop Conner to give him the keys while the two guys ahead of him gear up for the regular season.