Most of the free agents the Jacksonville Jaguars added to their offense in free agency will have an impact from Day 1 but they will also benefit from the return of running back Travis Etienne, who could have a breakout season under head coach Doug Pederson.
Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report recently drew up a list of six NFL players that are ready to have a breakout year under new head coaches and Etienne was included. Sobleski is aware the running back hasn’t played a snap for the Jags but believes that it might not have gone well for him if he had. Either way, Sobleski thinks Etienne can become a playmaker under Doug Pederson.
"Etienne is an explosive runner and capable receiver. Pederson likes a deep backfield, but he also uses the position quite a bit in the passing game, which will create opportunities for Etienne to be a difference-maker. During Pederson’s last two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. Miles Sanders averaged 843 rushing yards and 58 targets. Etienne is a better all-around talent."
Pederson told the local media Monday that Etienne is cleared for all activities. The head coach acknowledged that the team will still monitor the second-year running back to avoid a potential setback but he was a full-go during Organized Team Activities.
Jaguars HC Doug Pederson must untap RB Travis Etienne’s potential.
Urban Meyer didn’t do a good job as the head coach in Jacksonville but to his credit, he and general manager Trent Balke added some enticing players in last year’s draft. Trevor Lawrence is the one that stands out the most but cornerback Tyson Campbell had a promising rookie year. Safety Andre Cisco should get an expanded role and Etienne will be the Jaguars’ featured back while James Robinson recovers from a foot injury.
Etienne was a key cog in Clemson’s passing game and his ability to catch the back should give the Jaguars’ offense another dimension. Pederson said Monday that the offseason and training camp will give the team’s brass a chance to “really get a feel for what he does well and how we can put him in a position to succeed”. On Monday, E-T-N participated in wide receiver drills, so it’s fair to say that the coaching staff isn’t holding back and is ready to give him a robust role on offense.
Also, the Jaguars’ revamped wide receiver corps should make things easy for Etienne and the running game. If Christian Kirk and Zay Jones can stretch the field the way they’re expected, Etienne should see fewer eight-man boxes.
Etienne can’t surely wait to take the football field and make his NFL debut after missing his rookie season. If he can perform the way he did at the collegiate level, the Jaguars’ offense will get a boost in 2022.