The Jacksonville Jaguars are committed to a strong running game. In fact they use the running game to set up the pass. Do the Jags have the best running game in the AFC South? Let’s find out.
All running back rankings are from NFLScouts1000 unless indicated.
The Jaguars bucked the trend in 2017 and went with a strong running game. Due to their success the other AFC South teams may follow their lead. Research indicates that all of the AFC South teams worked during the off season to improve their running attacks.
To start let’s look at the Jaguars. They decided to stand pat with what they had on the roster. They kept Leonard Fournette ranked #10 by Top 10 Fantasy and #13 of 100 backs. In addition they kept T.J. Yeldon ranked #53. Surprisingly they cut Chris Ivory. Ivory ranked #19. Corey Grant was not ranked due to lack of carries. The Jags kept bruiser Tim Cook, too. The running backs had a total of 1,860 yards in 2017. A quick analysis indicates a very thin corps of backs. Let’s hope they stay healthy.
Next come the Tennessee Titans. Kyle Madden of Titans Wire stated “one of the key needs is running back.” Therefore the Titans acquired Dion Lewis as a free agent from the New England Patriots. Lewis ranked #4 of 100 running backs. Also they released DeMarco Murray, ranked 77. They kept Derrick Henry ranked #17. Although Henry is a starter, he is not a three down back. The Titans hope to field a balanced attack of run and pass. On paper they look impressive. The Titans rushed for a division low 1420 yards in 2017. Expect more yards in 2018.
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Third comes the Houston Texans. The Texans star runner is
ranked #36. In addition D’Onta Foreman (#59) and
are on the roster. Both are currently rehabbing injuries. The team resigned
#60. To be honest this running back corps looks a little iffy. Much depends on the healthy return of Foreman and Ervin. The Texans rushed for 1840 yards last season.
Last the Indianapolis Colts running backs generated a great deal of conversation. To start the plan is running back by committee. New coach Frank Reich said” I like the idea of involving everybody. You build a team that way.” The Colts have numerous running backs on their roster. The star is a flashy rookie, Marlon Mack, ranked #37. He played last season with a shoulder injury that is repaired. Another potential star, Nyheim Hines, is a hybrid running back, wide receiver, and kick returner. Also an All American track star, he is speedy. They hope for some success using their new system. Finally the Colts rushed for 1927 yards in 2017.
The Jaguars are the best due to Leonard Fournette. Next is the Titans…a very close second because of the star power of Lewis and Henry. The Texans and Colts are scrambling for last place in the division running back rankings. The Texans need backs to return from rehab and the Colts just need backs.