Running back Travis Etienne was supposed to make a huge impact on the Jacksonville Jaguars last year. However, a foot injury ended his rookie campaign before it started. But after a lengthy recovery, the former Clemson Tiger says the injury is “fully behind him“.
Etienne recently talked to Hays Carlyon of 1010 XL and touched on several topics, including the bond he’s developed with his teammates, his role on the Jags’ offense, and his health. The sophomore says “he’s having fun being back out there”, lining up outside in the backfield, which is where he “fell in love with the game”. Regarding the injury he suffered last year, he says he’s good to go.
"I feel like it’s fully behind me at this point. I don’t think it was just rehabbing a prehab, and just staying on top of it, so that way, I don’t feel late in the season because it is a new injury so I had to maintain it and just stay on top of it, so I’ll be great."
Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor would like to agree, as he described Etienne’s speed as the real when he last met with the local media. Similarly, videos of the running back catching the ball at full speed made the rounds on social media and if he weren’t completely back from the Lisfranc injury, none of that would be possible.
The Jaguars need Travis Etienne to give their running game a boost
As great as Etienne has looked over the last few weeks, it’s just the preseason and there are still a few months left before the regular season starts. The Jaguars certainly need him to perform at a high level and give their running game a boost. Last year, they ranked 22n in rushing yards and 21st in rushing touchdowns. Urban Meyer’s questionable use of James Robinson certainly played a role in the less-than-optimal production and injuries to the former Illinois State Redbird made things worse.
Robinson suffered a torn Achilles late in the 2021 season and is currently recovering from it, leaving Etienne as the Jaguars’ lead back. Once the former recovers, Jacksonville could have a solid backfield. But in the meantime, it is a question mark and that was reflected in Pro Football’s recent running back ranking, where the Jaguars’ popped up at No. 25.
Ben Linsey of PFF rightfully ranked Jacksonville’s running back at that spot because both Etienne and Robinson are coming from significant injuries. The potential is certainly there, and Linsey likes Etienne’s big-play ability. However, they won’t get a higher spot until the start of the regular season, when he will be able to make an impact.
The Jaguars need to have a balanced offense in 2022 and it doesn’t look like that will be an issue due to the presence of a healthy Etienne. It might be a year later than expected but if he can make plays the way he did in college, it will have been worth the wait.