Jacksonville Jaguars can withstand Travis Etienne’s recent injury

Running back Travis Etienne of the Jacksonvile Jaguars (Bob Self/Florida Times-Union)
Running back Travis Etienne of the Jacksonvile Jaguars (Bob Self/Florida Times-Union) /

Running back Travis Etienne was spotted in a walking boot, limping after the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Week 2 preseason loss to the New Orleans Saints. After the game, head coach coach Urban Meyer told the local media that the rookie running back had sustained a foot injury but they didn’t know the severity of it. After undergoing tests, it’s now official: The Clemson product will miss the whole 2020 season.

Early Tuesday, Adam Schefter reported Etienne suffered a mid-foot sprain that is Lisfranc. He then added that the running back was going to undergo surgery. Later, the Jaguars announced that they placed him on the Injured/Reserved list, effectively putting an end to his rookie campaign.

The Jaguars drafted running back Etienne with the 25th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft because they believed he could give their offense a boost. The team’s brass expected him to form a dynamic running back tandem alongside sophomore James Robinson. They will now have to wait until next year to see him take the field in the regular season.

Had the Clemson product landed on the injured list after August the 31st, he could have returned this season. After that day, players can be placed on the short-term Injured/Reserve. His timeline to recovery is 12 weeks though, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. The Jags may not be competing for a playoff spot this year, so it would it wouldn’t make much sense to bring Etienne back.

The Jacksonville Jaguars should be fine without Travis Etienne.

Running back wasn’t a pressing need for the Jaguars earlier this year, so it was a bit baffling to see them draft Etienne in the first round. It wasn’t necessarely a bad pick though. He displayed his burst and athleticism throughout training camp and the coaching back expected him to play a key role in both the running and passing game.

On the bright side, the Jaguars’ rushing attack should be fine without Etienne though. They have Robinson, who totaled 1,414 yards from scrimmage in 2020, the most by an undrafted free agent in NFL history. Veteran Carlos Hyde has starting experience and posted a 1,000-yard season as recently as 2019. He’s not the playmaker Etienne is but he will be able to spell Robinson from time to time and even start if necessary.

Etienne’s injury will pave the way for Devine Ozigbo, who hauled in two receptions for 42 yards against the Saints. Before Week 2 of the preseason, the Nebraska product was on the outside looking in. He might now have a shot to make the Jags’ 53-man roster. Also, the coaching staff could get creative and use wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. in some of the plays they had originally drew for the rookie running back.

Injuries are an inherent part of football. Teams can’t control them but they can prepare for them, and the Jacksonville Jaguars should have no trouble adjusting to Etienne’s miss. Will they miss the spark he could’ve given the offense? Sure, but they should be in good shape even without him.

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