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Jags employing 'stronger commitment' to run game

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The future of the Jacksonville Jaguars rests on the shoulders of Blake Bortles. To help ensure his success, the Jags plan to focus more on the ground game in 2015.

"There is a heavier emphasis in run game even in our individual (drills) using the garbage cans and things like that that are out there," coach Gus Bradley said Tuesday at the opening of OTAs, via the team's official website. "I think the players would feel a stronger commitment to the run game."

It's a similar refrain we heard last year, which was undone by poor blocking and an ineffective backfield with Toby Gerhart leading the way. Denard Robinson showed flashes in 2014, but he's not a workhorse.

The Jags drafted T.J. Yeldon to be the lead back in the second-round of the draft, underscoring Bradley's point about focusing on the ground attack.

General manager David Caldwell also added three offensive linemen this offseason to bolster one of the worst blocking groups in the entire NFL.

The question will be: Can the upgrades lead to a stronger product?

It's fair to wonder whether Yeldon can be the every-down back the Jags sorely need. If so, he could be the top rookie runner, as Gregg Rosenthal suggested earlier this month.

However, Yeldon doesn't come without questions. His upright running style caused some concerns that he might be prone to taking big hits; and he doesn't possess great speed.

"For being a creative back, he has no juice to get away from anyone," one NFC running backs coach told NFL Media's Lance Zierlein prior to the draft. "He's a rotational back. ... You can find guys like that all over the place."

The Jags hope Yeldon proves that scout wrong and he can become a first- and second-down worker. If not, Bradley's focus on the ground game might just end up backfiring and put Bortles in a lot of bad down-and-distances.

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