Dec 1, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Denard Robinson (16) and cornerback Will Blackmon (24) prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
3) Can Denard Robinson improve his blocking?
Running backs have value beyond just running the ball. We covered getting touches that aren’t just carries, but another important part of the running backs’ duties is pass protection. If you have a running back who can block, catch, and run, then there isn’t any need to take him out of the game.
Right now, Robinson is a bit too light to be an effective blocker. He wasn’t called upon to do so often (76 times) and he graded out at just above the average according to Pro Football Focus. PFF credits Robinson with allowing three sacks in two games, however, and both of those were graded harshly as a result.
If Robinson hopes to be a more valuable backup running back, he will have to prove more adept at blocking. Players with more than one ability are far more valuable on the depth chart. While “pure” players tend to get more attention because of the work they can put in and success they achieve in their singular roles, once they aren’t able to do that as well, they lose their value.
Robinson will have to work on his blocking if he hopes to become a more valuable member of the running back group. He is a diligent worker and I think he is committed to being the best all around player he can be, so I expect he will make gains in this regard for 2015.
As Robinson transitions from expecting to be the number one back to competing for carries behind the feature back, his blocking abilities will become more critical and could give him the edge. I hope he finds a way to improve here, but it is certainly a clear spot for him to improve.
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