Is this a renaissance season for Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette?
By David Levin
Will Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette have a season that will be remembered by fans in Duuuval as his best one yet?
Leonard Fournette is the straw the stirs the drink that is the Jacksonville Jaguars offense. The third-year running back should get plenty of chances to prove he is a different player than the one who was injured last season and cause quite the controversy both on and off the field in 2018.
This is the chance for Fournette, the fourth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, to prove to everyone that he has matured and become more focused on playing the game of football than dealing with outside distractions which placed him in the team’s doghouse last season.
"“Despite the addition of Nick Foles this offseason, the Jaguars’ offense will continue to run through the bruising running back,” writes NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks.“Doug Marrone’s desire to bludgeon opponents with a smash-mouth running game makes Fournette the No. 1 option in a game plan that could feature 35-plus rushing attempts each week.”"
More from Jacksonville Jaguars News
- Jacksonville Jaguars should welcome Derrick Henry into the kingdom
- Jaguars Rumors: Trent Baalke seems to be getting respect now
- Jaguars News: This division rival might be making a big move
- Former Jacksonville Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien: “New Profession, Same Standards”
- Jacksonville Jaguars TE Evan Engram officially gets the franchise tag: 3 takeaways
If the Jaguars are able to run effectively for the majority of those touches and Foles has time in the pocket to find his available receivers, this could be an offense that is better than the 2017 edition that averaged over 26 points a game.
Everything, even with changes in personnel on the offensive line and the upgrade under center, revolves around Fournette, his healthy and how hungry he is to carry – yes carry – this team to the playoffs once again. If the rookie version of the former LSU star did not take shape in 2017, there would not have been any talk of the postseason, a playoff run and an AFC Championship berth.
This is Fournette’s offense and the surrounding cast of players must compliment what he does with the football in his hands. That has been made abundantly clear this offseason.
"“Although new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo could have a tough time sticking with the script, Fournette’s underrated receiving skills will still make him a candidate for 20-plus touches whenever the Jaguars step onto the field,” Brooks added."
Ask Fournette about this season and a smile comes over his face, as it did when he met with the media in June. He said he was hungry. He told his coaches he wants to be the reason this franchise is successful. Most of all, he wants to put the 2018 campaign behind him as soon as possible.
"“Just taking camp and pretty much this whole season to a different approach than last year,” Fournette said in a August 12 story by Michael DiRocco on ESPN.com.“Like I said, it’s Year 3 [of his NFL career]. Calais [Campbell] said yesterday Year 3 is when you find out which guys [rise to a higher level]. I’m hoping for it.“It’s not pressure at all. I’ve been playing this game for 23 or 24 years, so it’s something I love to do. I take it serious, but just keep the same attitude, the same personality, just don’t change knowing what’s at stake and just have a better year than last year.”"
If it’s pressure, then it’s self-inflicted. Fournette is being given the keys to what we all here in Jacksonville hope is a potent offense with an attack that remains balanced the entire season. If he does his part, and the passing game can complement a strong rushing attack, then 13 opponents on the Jaguars schedule had better be prepared for a long season.
And for Fournette, it would mean quieting the critics that wonder if he can play in 16 games this season and continue to progress as a running back teams fear instead of feast on once he gets in the game.