Jaguars expect RB James Robinson to return vs. Commanders in Week 1

Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson (25) at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson (25) at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports /

Running back James Robinson has made significant progress in his recovery from the torn Achilles he suffered late in the 2021 season and is close to joining the Jacksonville Jaguars. And head coach Doug Pederson believes he could suit up in Week 1 of the regular season, when the Jags face off against the Washington Commanders.

Pederson met with the local media before Day14 of training camp and said that the Jaguars will progressively increase his workload instead of “going full steam ahead“.

"You don’t want to stress his body obviously. But at the same time, he neds to get enough work where he’s possibly ready to go for Washington if that’s the case… It’s the expectation, kind of the hope that he can be there at that point. If not, that’s ok, we’re comfortable with the guys behind him."

Robinson got hurt when the Jaguars played the New York Jets in Week 16 and has spent the offseason rehabbing. He’s slowly gotten more involved in team activities. Early in the week, he participated in 7-on-7 drills and later had a few carries while wearing a non-contact jersey Wednesday.

After going undrafted in 2020, Robinson signed with the Jaguars and went on to total 1,414 yards from scrimmage, an NFL record for undrafted player. Last year, he got an uneven workload due to Urban Meyer’s questionable decision-making but was effective when he saw the field, tallying 164 carries for 764 yards with eight touchdowns.

The Jaguars’ offense will get a boost with RB James Robinson

Robinson told Mia O’Brien that he tries not to think much about the injury and it looks like the approach is working. He hasn’t had any setbacks in his rehab and has taken several steps in the right direction. A return in Week 1 would be great for the Jags but as Pederson said, they don’t have to rush his recovery.

If Robinson isn’t good to go against Washinton, the Jaguars will lean on a committee of Travis Etienne, rookie Snoop Conner, and Ryquell Armstead. Etienne has been a star in training camp, showing the burst and big-play potential that made him a first-round selection last year. Conner has also gotten plenty of work in practice and might get snaps whether Robinson is available or not.

On the other hand, the Jaguars’ offense could certainly use Robinson. Although Trevor Lawrence will be the focal point in 2022, Robinson and Etienne could wear defenses down, which could in turn take some pressure off Lawrence’s shoulders.

Whether Robinson is ready to roll in Week 1, he will play a key role for the Jaguars in 2022. There’s now a competent coaching staff in place that will know how to use him best.

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