Running back Travis Etienne is an important piece of the Jacksonville Jaguars offense but it's hard to argue that he's had a bigger impact than Trevor Lawrence, who's quickly becoming one of the top quarterbacks in the league. However, some analysts still have a hard time giving Steezy Trev the credit he deserves, and that includes Jeff Chadiha of NFL Media.
In light of Thanksgiving, Chadiha said the Jags should be grateful for Etienne, even though Lawrence has a bigger role on the offense. Chadiha then appeared on the NFL Report to expand on his pick. Colleague James Palmer preludes the conversation by pointing out that Etienne is a fine player but it was a bit odd to see him getting the nod over Lawrence. Here's what Chadiha what to say.
"I'm not all in on Trevor Lawrence as the superstar quarterback yet, "He'd be the easy pick because he's the big name and the first overall pick but he still has some work to do to get to that Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow level," Chadiha said. "He's kind of right for Justin Herbert in terms of playmaking for me, but ETN has been a revelation this year, and in the past."
"Remember when Urban Meyer thought he should be a receiver when he came into the league? And what you're saying is a guy who can run between the tackles be versatile and do different things... He's on pace for 1,600 yards total yards. To me, he's the most dynamic weapon they have. I thought it would be Calvin Ridley this year but it turned out to be Travis Etienne," Chadiha said.
This season, Etienne has toted the rock 174 times for 670 yards with seven touchdowns. He's also tallied 282 receiving yards and a touchdown, giving him a total of 952 yards from scrimmage. Meanwhile, Lawrence has completed a career-best 68.1 percent of his passes for 2,382 yards with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Why the Jaguars should be more thankful for Travor Lawrence than Travis Etienne
For the sake of transparency, Chadiha isn't saying Trevor Lawrence isn't bad. He's even placing him in the same tier as fellow quarterback Justin Herbert, and one below Joe Burrow, and Patrick Mahomes. In fact, it seems like he's trying to bring the spotlight to Travis Etienne, but it still feels odd that Lawrence wasn't his pick. After all, he's the face of the franchise and one of the main reasons the Jacksonville Jaguars have undergone a turnaround the past two years.
Make no mistake, Travis Etienne is a pretty talented player himself. As Chadiha noted, he's on pace to cross the 1,500 yards from scrimmage. He's also among the leaders in broken tackles in the NFL. But he's averaging less than 4.0 yards per carry this season. Some of it's due to the offensive line's inability to open lanes in the running game but Trevor Lawrence hasn't played nearly as well for the exact same reason.
Regarding Urban Meyer's comments about Etienne being a receiver, he did say it. But Meyer had no idea of how the NFL worked and projecting Etienne as a wishful thinking was misguided. He's shown he can be a solid receiver but he's not a dual threat in the mold of Christian McCaffrey.
In the end, there are many reasons the Jacksonville Jaguars should be grateful for. They're 7-3 and No. 1 in the AFC South. They have a favorable chance to make the playoffs and win their second division title in back-to-back years. They should also be thankful for having so many playmakers, including Travis Etienne, and Trevor Lawrence.