Lost amid the hype and drama around Blake Bortles’ arrival for the Jacksonville Jaguars was a spark of life in the running game. Led by Denard Robinson instead of free agent addition Toby Gerhart, the running game finally showed that it could string together carries for more than three yards and that it too could move the chains.
Denard Robinson in particular showed that he may finally be putting it together.
Make no mistake, a lot of the yards that the Jags racked up on Sunday were during garbage time. The team was down 30-0 when Bortles finally inspired confidence and action on the offensive side of the ball. But still, there was a spark. Signs of life were registered.
Robinson finished the day with 33 yards on eight carries, good for a healthy 4.1 yards per carry average. Gerhart contributed another 32 yards on nine carries, good for 3.6 yards per carry – drastically better than his first two outings for the Jaguars. Jordan Todman contributed 10 yards on one touch and even Bortles got involved for a major 20 yard scramble. All in all it added up to a surprisingly pleasant 105 yards (the first time the Jags have accumulated over 100 yards on the ground in three games) with a 5.3 yards per carry average. They even managed to pick up six of the Jaguars total 18 first downs.
With teams respecting the passing attack more with Bortles under center, expect more running room to become available for the Jaguars’ tailbacks. While the changes at offensive line (Luke Bowanko at center, Sam Young at right tackle) didn’t seem to yield many results with Henne under center, there was much better movement with Bortles on the field. Expect the trend to continue.
It’s good to see the Jaguars get back to being able to run the ball (this is no way an endorsement of 105 yards per game being good for the team, they need much more) and I am hopeful that Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart can continue to contribute and grow more as the season continues.
They are going to have to if the team is going to avoid becoming a one dimensional Blake Bortles show. Lord knows the rookie will need some balance behind a shaky offensive line.