Is Denard Robinson Now the Guy at Running Back?
It might seem like a silly question given his outstanding play, but it’s worth delving into the Jaguars plans with Denard Robinson and the running back position moving forward.
The Jacksonville Jaguars let veteran running back Maurice Jones-Drew walk in free agency this offseason and they replaced him with former Vikings second round pick Toby Gerhart. Many thought, justifiably, that Gerhart was going to be the lead back and handle a bulk of workload at running back. It made sense – the Jaguars had very little in terms of experience at running back with Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson, and 7th round pick Storm Johnson.
Well 8 weeks into the season, the Jaguars seem to have very little reason to play Gerhart at all. The Jaguars managed to find 4 carries for Gerhart on Sunday (for only 10 yards), but he’s effectively been phased out of the offense entirely.
When the Jaguars drafted Denard Robinson last year and decided to convert him into a running back, everyone knew it would take time for Shoelace to learn the craft. Being a fifth round pick, expectations were fairly low for Robinson and it really wouldn’t be a big deal if he didn’t pan out.
It’s fair to say that Denard has developed significantly faster than anyone could have anticipated, especially given the struggles he had his rookie year. He looks like a legitimate NFL running back. He can run in between the tackles, he’s decisive in turning upfield and bursting through holes, and he has the speed to run around the edge.
It might be too early to call Gerhart a bust of a signing, but it’s evident the Jaguars best option at running back is Denard Robinson. Over the last 2 games, Robinson has averaged 20 rushing attempts per game, and that seems about right moving forward. Robinson should be the primary guy, while Jordan Todman has shown he can be an effective change of pace scatback. Storm Johnson has flashed in his limited snaps and should also get some looks as the secondary running back.
Regardless of who receives the ancillary carries, Robinson is now the guy in the backfield.