Signed to replace Maurce Jones-Drew in the 2014 offseason, Toby Gerhart faced what was in retrospect unfair expectations in his first year in Jacksonville. In his first chance to step out of Adrian Peterson‘s shadow, Gerhart barely got out of the gate before suffering an injury in the first game of the season. He didn’t fully recover until late in the season, but by then the Jaguars’ offense was a complete mess.
Denard Robinson filled in admirably and had a terrific 4 game stretch including three straight games with over 90 yards rushing, but he also fell to an injury. Overall, the Jaguars had a tough time consistently running the ball in 2014. Consequently, it’s not surprising to see Robinson and Gerhart ranked fairly low in Matt Millers‘ 2014 RB grades. Gerhart and Robinson came in at 85 and 57 , respectively, out of 90:
"85. Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars – 64/100"
"Speed: 17/25; Power: 19/25; Vision: 21/35; Receiving: 4/10; Starter: 3/5Toby Gerhart is a talented back who should create a good combination with Denard Robinson for the Jaguars in 2015 if both players can stay healthy. In 2014, he wasn’t healthy until later in the season, so his explosiveness and effectiveness were limited.57. Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars – 71/100Speed: 20/25; Power: 18/25; Vision: 25/35; Receiving: 5/10; Starter: 3/5Denard Robinson reignited a rushing attack that had been hampered by its offensive line for over 12 months. His quickness, decisiveness and vision allowed him to be consistently effective in different ways."
Miller constructs these grades based purely off 2014 performances, so it makes sense to see Gerhart and Robinson so low. Still, there are some questionable aspects to his scores here. He has Gerhart’s receiving grade fairly low, and it certainly shouldn’t be lower than Robinson’s. Gerhart may have had less receptions (20 to Robinson’s 23), but his yards per catch average was significantly higher (9.3 compared to 5.4).
Nitpicking aside, it’s clear the Jaguars needed an upgrade at the running back position. T.J. Yeldon is the first option now in the backfield, and hopefully he can at least rank in the top 32 next year.
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