Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said prior to practice on Tuesday he has been impressed with the work of his running backs.
One of the things Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marone emphasized on Tuesday as the team returned to practice was the success the running back room is having so far during training camp. That’s a good thing considering how far the group fell as a unit toting the pigskin last season. The Jaguars continue to push a narrative of being a run-first team, which is why there were wholesale changes made to the group this offseason.
The five backs in camp offer much more versatility than in seasons past.
Marrone who outlined the team’s desire to run the ball more effectively in both OTA’s and mini camp said he is pleased with the work that the players put in not only in June but in the last week as well. He is extremely pleased with the work that Ryquell Armstead has shown since being drafted in April.
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"“I like the way he looked there, and I think it’s a matter of when we get into the games. I think a lot of it, when the lights come on and you’re playing in the preseason games, with the younger guys you can probably see a little bit more as far as where are they in terms of being able to contribute during the season,” Marrone said.“I think now you can eliminate some guys. If you’re not doing well now then pretty much you don’t have to worry about when the preseason games come, but everyone’s doing fine, so I’m excited. I think there’s a lot of competition out there, there really is.”"
The rookie will be fighting for carries in a crowded backfield. The coaching staff is going to have a tough decision to make when it comes to the final 53-man roster. The team figures to carry four backs this season. Leonard Fournette is going to be the man everybody looks to as the Jaguars bell cow back. Alfred Blue will be his initial back up, and then Armstead should be the next in line.
Finding that back who can come in and replace Fournette if he suffers another injury (let’s hope not) has been a tough task to undertake. T.J. Yeldon looked good in the first half of the 2018 season in that role but fell off in production after the bye week.
Marrone specifically pointed out the work his rookie is doing and how his running style is going to benefit this offense. It’s the kind of versatility the Jaguars lacked last year. It also plays into the game plan of making the running game the priority as it has been the last two seasons, but was not as effective in 2018.