Jags OC: 'Fournette needs to be a big part' of offense


Leonard Fournette's tape from 2018 is mostly ghastly -- when he even made it on to the field.

The Jacksonville Jaguars running back missed eight games due to nagging injury and averaged just 3.3 yards per carry on 133 totes when he was healthy enough to play. In half of the eight games he did participate in, Fournette generated 2.7 yards per carry or fewer.

Despite the struggles to stay healthy, the lack of production and the off-field scorning from management last year, new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo plans on Fournette being a focal point of his offense in 2019.

"We're really looking forward to Leonard having a big year," DeFilippo said this week, via the team's official website. "I'm going to call it what it is: He's going to be a major reason where our offense goes. I'm not going to sugarcoat that. Leonard Fournette needs to be a big part of this offense.

"The harder he works -- which he is right now -- that's going to be not only good for our offense, but good for our team."

Given the current makeup of the Jags' offense surrounding new quarterback Nick Foles, which lacks a defense-changing receiving weapon -- despite having some enticing young talent -- Jacksonville needs an improved season from Fournette.

DeFilippo's comments are interesting for multiple reasons. First is the team's continued faith in Fournette despite struggles to be an efficient rusher. Even in his 1,040-yard rookie season, the running back averaged just 3.9 yards per carry.

Another reason the OC's remarks are notable is that DeFilippo was fired from Minnesota last season essentially for not running the ball enough. Perhaps he's reconsidered his offense since then? Perhaps it's merely verbal platitudes in May?

Actions in the fall mean more than words in the spring.