Around the NFL  

 

Leonard Fournette still waiting on his breakout run

Print
  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
More Columns >

Save for an unfortunate third quarter in Week 2, the Jacksonville Jaguars could not be more pleased with how the start of the season ha spanned out so far.

Their heavy investments in the defensive side of the ball are paying off, with Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye excelling early; the Jags are coming off one of their most dominant, complete victories, a 44-7 win over the Ravens, since sending off Dan Marino with a postseason slaughter; and Jacksonville's first-round running back is living up to his billing, even if the stats don't yet tell that story.

Through three games, Leonard Fournette is among the top five in the league in carries (57) but has averaged only 3.5 yards per rush, a deceiving stat that will have box score bozos overlooking his contribution to Jacksonville's strong start.

For Jaguars offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, having Fournette and backup Chris Ivory break big runs and pack their YPC average isn't as vital as seeing them never lose yards.

"The big thing for us: not having those negative-yard runs," Hackett told Phillip Heilman of The Florida Times-Union. "Any time you can hand the ball to a back and you're going to gain at least a yard, which those guys really specialize in no matter how muddy it may get, it's always going to give you a chance to be able to have a good play call the next one."

This is the case with Fournette, who has only had six of his 57 carries gain zero or negative yards and a long of 17 yards.

Picking up necessary first-down yardage to create manageable third-down opportunities isn't the most glamorous job in the league; Fournette isn't showing up on highlight reels or earning Player of the Week accolades like fellow rookies Kareem Hunt (401 yards) and Dalvin Cook (288 yards). But it's working for the Jags right now.

Against the Jets, who gave up huge runs in their first two weeks, Fournette might finally have his game-changing scamper, with a bruising hit or two. The rookie back has faith that his big break is coming soon.

"At the end of the day, it's up to me whether I want to break a tackle and want that 60-yard run or 50-yard run," Fournette said. "At the end of the day, I put it all on myself because I know I can do better. I expect better out of myself."

Print

Fan Discussion