Running back James Robinson tore his Achilles near the end of the 2021 season but he’s close to returning. He showed he’s trending in the right direction during the joint practices the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Atlanta Falcons held before their matchup in Week 3 of the preseason.
Even though Robinson is wearing a non-contact jersey, he’s had no limitations and even caught a touchdown reception in 7-on-7 drills. Here’s a clip of his trip to the end zone, courtesy of the team’s official website.
Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson met with the local media before Thursday’s practice and said that Robinson has made strides in his recovery, “hopefully, the yellow jersey will come off soon“.
Pederson said not long ago that Jacksonville expected Robinson to be back in the fold for Week 1 of the regular season and the running back himself told John Shipley of Jaguar Report that his goal is to be ready to face off against the Washinton Commanders in the season opener.
"It has always been [my goal] since I got hurt. I mean, the timeline matched up so that was my goal to come back Week 1… I feel pretty good. I mean, obviously, we’re still taking stuff slow, got a little bit until the first game. So year, just doing what I can and doing what they’re letting me do, but I feel pretty good right now."
Robinson never got more than 18 carries in a game last year. But in spite of his limited workload, he was one of the top running backs in both traditional and advance statistics at one point of the season.
The Jaguars don’t have to rush James Robinson back from injury
Running back Travis Etienne is also back from the season-ending injury he suffered in the preseason last year and figures to get a big workload in 2022. But despite Etienne’s presence, Robinson will have an important role in the Jaguars’ offense.
Speaking of Etienne, he’s 100 percent healthy and could carry the load for one or two games in case Robinson isn’t ready to go in Week 1. That’s another thing to consider. Robinson has made significant strides and he’s indeed close to returning but the coaching staff doesn’t probably want to overwork him and run the risk of suffering a setback in his recovery.
Week 1 looks like a realistic date to return and Robinson should definitely aim for it. However, the Jaguars could wait a little longer if he isn’t ready.