T.J. Yeldon is the answer for Jaguars’ offensive woes


T.J. Yeldon has got to be pissed about the lack of opportunities the Jacksonville Jaguars were giving him in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers.

Actually, T.J. Yeldon is a classy guy and a professional. He probably isn’t pissed at all because he’s amazing like that.

I’m pissed that T.J. Yeldon barely got any opportunities from offensive coordinator Greg Olson in the game against the Carolina Panthers.

Yeldon’s performance on Sunday was one of the few bright spots for a Jacksonville Jaguars team that clearly struggled all game long against the Panthers. He put together 51 yards on 12 carries and had three receptions for 16 yards. Three of his rushes were for 11 yards or more.

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That isn’t a jump off the page type of first NFL game, but it was probably the best individual performance for any Jaguar on the offensive side of the ball.

I’ve stated it before, but my primary complaint about Yeldon was his lack of use by the Jaguars coaching staff. After claiming to commit to the run game in 2015, offensive coordinator Greg Olson had no qualms about ditching the strategy and turning to the arm of Blake Bortles to the tune of 40 passing attempts.

That’s far from committing to the run. In fact, it’s not even committing to a balanced offensive attack!

Olson did this despite consistent signs that Blake Bortles was not showing the same progress he displayed in the preseason and the drops that plagued the receivers all preseason had carried over to the regular season.

Sep 13, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Mario Addison (97) brings down Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) during the second half at EverBank Field. The Panthers defeat the Jaguars 20-9. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

If I have a running back on the team who is averaging 4.3 yards per carry and consistently performing in a close game and my quarterback and receivers are struggling, it’s a no-brainer to keep feeding the ball to the running back. Instead, the Jaguars abandoned Yeldon, giving him just five more carries in the second half and just two in the fourth quarter.

This during what was a one-score game until 2:41 left in the fourth quarter when a 47-yard field goal gave the Panthers an 11 point lead.

I’m not an NFL coach and I’m not an NFL player. I never have been and likely never will be. But it’s clear to me that if the Jacksonville Jaguars want to get their offense back on track, they need to turn to rookie running back T.J. Yeldon and the running game.

Yeldon leads a group of talented running backs including Denard Robinson (five attempts on Sunday), Bernard Pierce (zero attempts), Toby Gerhart (zero attempts), and speedster Corey Grant (zero attempts).

In particular, the Jacksonville Jaguars should focus on rushing on the strong right side of their offensive line, behind guard Brandon Linder and right tackle Jermey Parnell. Yeldon and Robinson averaged nearly five yards per carry when rushing to the right. Yeldon also averaged almost five per carry up the middle as well.

The only direction the team shouldn’t be running is left, where tackles Luke Joeckel and Sam Young struggled in run blocking. Yeldon had just four yards on three attempts to that side.

With the Miami Dolphins coming up in Week 2, the Jaguars desperately need to turn to a reliable offensive weapon. Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins offense could only stay on the field for 22 minutes in Week 1 as the Washington Redskins played keep away. The Redskins managed to run up 106 rushing yards in the first half alone against the Dolphins.

T.J. Yeldon could be a serious danger in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins. The Jaguars should let Blake Bortles and the receivers rest up and lean on the running game while they try to get back on track. Yeldon is ready to carry the load for now.

Next: Allen Robinson already has more drops than in 2014

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