Toby Gerhart has had a rough start to his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars. After suffering an injury to start the year, he never managed to get rolling again and saw the starting job fall to former-quarterback Denard Robinson while Gerhart was relegated to backup duties.
It was a dismal season for Gerhart. As outlined by Evan Reier over at Bleacher Report, it’s clear that the production last year simply wasn’t up to par with Gerhart’s usual standard of play. With the lowest yards per attempt in his career, Gerhart was obviously struggling.
Part of that is injury related, part of that was the atrocious state of the Jaguars offensive line, and part of it was simply that Gerhart wasn’t adapting well. No matter the reason, it wasn’t up to his standard or the standard the Jaguars demanded from their prized free agent addition.
In all measurements, the Toby Gerhart signing was a flop.
Now with Denard Robinson ahead of him on the depth chart and joined by rookie workhorse T.J. Yeldon, Gerhart finds himself in a bit limbo. It isn’t that he can’t run the ball or function at running back. He can. There’s a role for him somewhere with the team, it just needs to be fleshed out.
As quoted at the Jaguars team site, ““It allows me to get downhill, move around, play some fullback, play some halfback, split out and do a little bit of everything,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. I’m real excited.” I love seeing Gerhart get looks all over the place. I loved watching him run at Minnesota before he came to Jacksonville and I think he’s a big enough back that his time at fullback will be appreciated.
It’s catching the ball that has me the most optimistic, though. Gerhart was deceptively good as a pass catcher last season, managing to come in with 20 receptions last year. It will be nice to see him get more looks if he splits out wide.
So far 2015 should give cause for optimism in the case of Toby Gerhart. He is a reliable pass catcher, a decent blocker, and he understands the different running back roles he will be called to perform and work with. His addition to the Jags shouldn’t be viewed as a flop simply because he isn’t becoming the lead back as anticipated. He’s becoming a versatile cog in a Jaguars offense that may have finally found its teeth.
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