The Jacksonville Jaguars threw a curveball at everyone Monday when they traded James Robinson to the New York Jets for a late-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. Head coach Doug Pederson met with the local media Wednesday and touched on several topics, including the aftermath of the trade and sophomore Travis Etienne’s role moving forward.
Pederson told the media he couldn’t get into much detail but noted the Jets were the ones that initiated talks.
“I’m not going to get into all the details with it“, Pederson said. But I have a lot of respect for James, and what has done for me, and the organization. It’s a great opportunity for him. Obviously, the Jets lost a running back and it’s the nature of our business. Teams begin to search and we got a call on him. And we made the decision to move on”.
Later in the exchange, Pederson said Etienne will see more playing time but other than that, not much will change.
“You’re not gonna see anything different from TJ. He’s going to continue to do the same things he’s been doing. It’s just that he’ll have an opportunity to play a little bit longer. I still want to keep him from taking all the load and keep him healthy for the entire season. That’s why JaMycal [Hasty], we will increase his load just a little bit”, Pederson said.
Although Etienne only had a combined 13 carries in the first two games of the season, he’s logged 42 for 303 rushing yards with one touchdown in the last four. Meanwhile, JaMycal Hasty has toted the rock five times, including a 61-touchdown run in Week 5, for 69 yards. Here’s a clip of Pederson discussing the James Robinson trade, via Demetrius Harvey of the Florida Times-Union.
It’s now Travis Etienne’s chance to show the Jaguars got it right
For a hot moment, it looked like James Robinson was going to be Jacksonville’s lead running back in 2022. Coming off a torn Achilles, last year, the former Illinois State Redbird had 11 carries for 66 yards and one touchdown against the Commanders in the opener. He then had a season-high 23 carries against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2.
But then, Etienne’s workload started to increase and Robinson wasn’t suddenly involved as he was early in the season. Maybe the Jaguars didn’t genuinely intend to trade him but he was been phased out in favor of Etienne.
The fact that Etienne has tallied 200 yards the past two games probably made the team’s brass comfortable about moving on from Robinson. The former Clemson Tiger will now have to show it’s not a flash and that he can stay healthy for the remainder of the season.
Keep in mind that the Jags drafted Etienne when Urban Meyer was at the helm but Pederson recognizes his playmaking skills. With Robinson out of the picture, the organization is giving Travis Etienne the chance to shine. Maybe just maybe, he’s the spark Jacksonville needs to start winning games again.