The Jacksonville Jaguars surely expect big things from running back Travis Etienne. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have used a first-round selection on him in the 2021 NFL Draft. And although the team’s brass must temper their expectations, the former Clemson Tiger is ready to bounce back and make an impact on offense after missing his rookie campaign with a foot injury.
Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor met with the local media Thursday and said that Etienne’s role on offense will most likely change depending on the opponent they’re facing, whether as a receiver or carrying the football.
"Whatever is going to give us the best opportunity to put Travis in a position to succeed is what we’re going to do. Whether that’s as a receiver coming out of the backfield or as a running back leaving the backfield. To be a receiver, whatever that may be, I think that kind of evolves as the season goes or week by week, really."
Taylor went on to praise Etienne and his speed which he described as ‘very real’ and added that the running back has done a good job of learning the different roles they’re trying him at, ‘we’re throwing him in all different positions just to see what he’s comfortable with and what he needs to work on moving forward”.
The Jaguars will lean on Travis Etienne to carry the load in 2022
It’s encouraging to hear that the Jaguars aren’t holding him back and instead are looking for ways to maximize the aforementioned speed and his skill set. When the Jaguars drafted the running back, former head coach Urban Meyer said they expected him to be part of the passing game, and it looks like the new regime hasn’t dismissed the idea.
Etienne suffered a Lisfranc injury in the 2021 preseason and spent the first months of the current year trying to get healthier. The Louisiana native recently told Hays Carlyon of 1010 XL that he’s ready to go and that the injury is behind him. Based on Taylor’s recent comments, it looks like that’s the case.
The Jags will need Etienne early in the 2022 regular season while fellow running back James Robinson recovers from a torn Achilles he suffered towards the end of last year. While it isn’t a good idea to overwork Etienne, it looks like he’s ready to play an important role on offense.
The fact that Etienne has the potential to be a dual-threat on the Jaguars’ offense will give Taylor and the staff the ability to be creative when crafting the game plan. On the other hand, it won’t be good news for the Jags’ AFC South rivals, who will need to account for him on every play this upcoming season.