It’s not often that an NFL team drafts a running back in the first round of the draft. After all, you can always get a good one in later rounds. However, the Jacksonville Jaguars, with head coach Urban Meyer at the helm, have shown that they are not afraid to think outside the box. Thus, they picked Travis Etienne with the 25th overall pick in this year’s selection meeting. They believed they got a player with the potential to be a dual threat on offense. Nevertheless, Chris Roling of Bleacher Report was unfazed with E-T-N’s preseason debut.
Roling recently put together a list of players that have disappointed in the preseason and Etienne made the cut. He wasn’t impressed with the rookie running back’s performance against the Cleveland Browns and doesn’t think quarterback Trevor Lawrence fared much better.
"No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence got strip-sacked on his very first play, though he bounced back. But first-round pick Travis Etienne’s most notable play was a forced fumble after his offense turned the ball over."
Roling acknowledges that Etienne has the skill set to be a playmaker but thinks that Jaguars fans possibly expected more than just one carry for two years and no catches in his preseason debut.
Travis Etienne will be a key cog on the Jacksonville Jaguars offense.
Etienne had a less-than-stellar preseason debut but that doesn’t mean he will struggle once the regular season starts. Keep in mind that he only played 13 snaps. Furthermore, the Jaguars’ offense struggled to move the ball and score points as a whole. The rookie running back wasn’t their only offensive player that didn’t make much of an impact.
The Jags weren’t going to show their whole playbook and ran a vanilla offense. That could also have played a role in Etienne’s lack of production in Week 1. If you only judge him based on 13 snaps he isn’t going to look great. But the Louisiana native has had an outstanding offseason and one bad outing isn’t going to undo the work he’s put in throughout the summer.
There’s a chance the Jags open up their playbook against in Week 2 of the preseason. After all, head coach Urban Meyer wondered why they had to conceal their game plan against the Browns, “we can’t show this, can’t show this. I don’t want to get into it but I want to go some tempo and I’m used to certain things”.
For the time being, it may be too early to call Etienne’s performance a disappointment. He was a difference-maker in college and based on what he’s shown in training camp, it looks like his playmaking skills have carried over to the pros. The Jacksonville Jaguars’ coaching staff will try to get him the ball as often as they can even though James Robinson will most likely get a bigger workload. They know what they have in the rookie running back and they won’t let a preseason game change their opinion of him.