Jaguars RB Travis Etienne keeps moving up in running back index

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. (1) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. (1) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Second-year running back Travis Etienne has been one of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ most productive players in recent weeks, proving they made the right decision when they sent James Robinson to the New York Jets. Maurice Jones-Drew of NFL Media has paid attention to how much of a difference-maker Etienne has been for the Jags and moved him up in his weekly running back index.

Jones-Drew points out that Etienne has been quite effective since the Jags traded Robinson. He goes on to say that Jacksonville’s chances of upseting the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 10 will increase if Etienne can rush for over 100 yards.

"In the two weeks since the team traded James Robinson to the Jets, Etienne has amassed 265 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. He was huge in the Jaguars’ come-from-behind win over the Raiders on Sunday with 109 rush yards and two TDs. The Jags need another 100-yard outing from Etienne if they want a chance against the Chiefs."

Even when Robinson was still on the Jaguars’ roster, Etienne often put on display the ability to make big plays that made him such a difference-maker at the collegiate level. Although he got off to a slow start to the season, his success running the football has led to an increased workload.

Etienne currently has an 81.9 Pro Football Focus overall grade and his 680 rushing yards rank fifth in the league, which is more impressive when you take into account that he only racked up 13 carries for 67 yards in the first two weeks of the 2022 season.

The Jaguars must give Travis Etienne a balanced workload moving forward

Head coach Doug Pederson told the media one day after beating the Las Vegas Raiders 27-20 that the coaching staff is considering increasing JaMycal Hasty’s workload and decreasing Etienne’s a bit, and that sounds reasonable. Although Etienne adds another dimension to the Jags’ defense, you don’t want to wear him down.

Having said that, Etienne’s workload isn’t that big. Sure, he had 28 carries against the Raiders, and 24 against the Denver Broncos the week before but those are the only two times he’s toted the rock more than 20 times this season.

Of course, it’s not sustainable to give Etienne 20 carries or more per game, so Hasty might indeed see more playing time. However, the Jaguars aren’t out of the playoffs just yet and will probably need to lean on Etienne if they want to finish the season strong.

Even though the Jaguars have plenty of work to do and might not qualify for the postseason, they should feel good knowing they have a difference-maker in Etienne.

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