Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon good enough for top-10 rushing attack?
Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon are set to lead the Jacksonville Jaguars’ rushing game and may be good enough to put the team in the top 10.
Through the preseason it has clearly been established that the addition of running back Chris Ivory to the Jacksonville Jaguars rushing attack has been a net positive. In fact, it’s been downright impressive.
Through two preseason games, Ivory has combined with T.J. Yeldon for 92 yards on 18 carries. That’s a solid 5.1 yards per carry average. Ivory is showing that he is still a potent threat at age 28 and Yeldon is showing he can be a more mature runner.
It isn’t all about how good these two backs are, though. The run blocking has also seen a sharp uptick. The Jags’ offensive line has jumped forward with the return of Brandon Linder, the addition of Mackenzy Bernadeau and a resurgent Luke Joeckel and growing A.J. Cann. The group figures to only get better with the new addition of Kelvin Beachum when he returns from injury.
The offensive line growth, combined with Ivory’s addition and Yeldon’s growth gives the Jags the opportunity to run the ball. The passing game has already taken a step forward and can help open up the running game. With a revamped defense, the team may not be playing from behind any longer.
All of this could lead to the Jags finally committing to the running game. Over the last three seasons, the Jags have been 30th, 28th, and 28th in rushing attempts. They can finally commit with the new talent and blocking and bump that number up in 2016.
Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon are bonafide threats. They can carry the load independently or together. Look for the number of rushing attempts to surge upward from 2015’s pitiful 354 in 2015. If the average holds above 4.0 yards per carry, the Jags should see plenty of production from the running game.
The last time the Jags had a competent running back who delivered was Maurice Jones-Drew back in 2011. He rushed 343 times for 1606 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry while being supported by Deji Karim (2.1 yards per carry) and Montell Owens (3.9 yards per carry). The Jags finished with the fourth most rushing attempts and 12th most rushing yards that season.
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With the ability to shift fresh legs in and out and still get over four yards per carry, the Jags may compete as a top-10 rushing offense in 2016. It’s been a long time since the Jags rushing attack was respectable enough to deliver like that, but Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon could deliver it (finally).