As Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette continues to miss time at OTAs, is this a sign of his lack of commitment to the team this season?
I may not be as worried about Leonard Fournette’s absences from OTAs as other local and national media members may be, but I do think there is some credence to the fact he may not be taking this season seriously. That is not good news for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
After reading Hays Carlyon’s editorial on 1010XL.com about Fournette’s lack of maturity in missing OTAs when there is a new offensive coordinator and quarterback in the building, I rehtought my steps a bit. Fournette needs a solid season to have any chance of a second contract here with the Jaguars. In reality, I too don’t believe that is happening.
Fournette was the subject of a story written by Seth Trachtman about the biggest headache for each NFL team coming into the 2019 season. Fournette’s off the field misfortunes, coupled with his lack of performance on the field when he was healthy last season paint a picture of a player at the crossroads of this career, which isn’t three seasons old.
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"“The fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft, Fournette is looking like a bust through two seasons. While he had more than 1,000 yards rushing in his rookie year, Fournette played in only eight games last season, averaging 3.3 yards per carry and regularly perturbing the team’s coaching staff and front office,” Trachman wrote.“Jacksonville hasn’t been shy about adding running back depth this offseason in Alfred Blue, Thomas Rawls and fifth-round pick Ryquell Armstead, which could come as a warning for Fournette.”"
Given the fact John DeFilippo, the man charged with turning the Jaguars offense around has stated he wants the former first-round pick to take the ball and run to daylight as many times as possible, how can you not think this would the year Fournette establishes himself as one of the best backs in the game?
Fournette isn’t here to answer that question.
After today, the Jaguars have one more OTA practice and then a three-day mandatory minicamp before the team leaves the area for five weeks. When he returns to training camp, will the man who looked to be in great shape, said all the right things in his only interview with the media two weeks ago, and has told running backs coach Terry Robiskie he doesn’t just want to be a piece to the puzzle here in Jacksonville, but rather the puzzle that brings a Super Bowl title to Duuuval.
It’s hard to believe that will happen.
This isn’t a case of whether these practices are voluntary or not, rather is the player is truly ready for the responsibility of what lies ahead. Right now, that does not seem to be the case.
Let’s hope Fournette can prove us all wrong and has the best season a Jaguars running back has had since Maurice Jones-Drew led the league in rushing in 2011. That’s the best way to end this growing controversy.