Leonard Fournette: Jags' run game 'very frustrating'

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  • By Adam Maya NFL.com
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Leonard Fournette just wants a chance. His head coach agrees he's not getting one.

The Jaguars' bell cow has been anything but through the first three games of the season, having yet to carry the ball more than 15 times or gain more than 66 yards.

"It's very frustrating. I want to ... help the team as much as you can," Fournette said, per ESPN. "I'm a running back first. I don't mind pass blocking and those things but I'm a running back first, so it's very frustrating at times."

The first 55 minutes of the Jaguars' win over the Titans last week would qualify as one of those times. Fournette had been held to minus-8 yards over his first 11 carries. His 69-yard scamper to begin Jacksonville's final possession saved him from finishing with negative yards.

Two years ago the Jaguars led the NFL in rushing. They fell to the middle of the pack last year. That downward trend has continued in 2019 -- they currently rank 23rd -- although efficiency isn't the issue. Jacksonville's 4.8 yards per carry is the ninth-best mark in the league. Its 19 attempts per game are the eighth fewest.

Part of that can probably be attributed to playing from behind in Week 1 against the Chiefs, and then late in Week 2 against the Texans.

Jags coach Doug Marrone, though, said the primary problem begins with those in front of Fournette.

"I'd be the first one to say Leonard has to do a better job, but we're not giving him a chance," Marrone said. "Until we give him a chance to see what he can do, that's fine, but he's doing everything he can. Each week, we're telling him to do this, and there's little things that people wouldn't see that he's been able to do to help us, yet we have to come up bigger and help him by doing a better job blocking."

Fournette believes a lack of preseason snaps between the starters has been a hindrance early in the season. With that, he expects productivity on the ground will eventually improve for the 1-2 Jaguars.

"It's not really adding up right now because you've got to have that [cohesiveness], especially with the running game," Fournette said. "Nobody practiced, nobody played in none of the preseason games. I think that kind of messed up a lot of communication. Also, you've got to have timing too with the run game. I think we're slowly getting back there.

"... It's going to come together. I don't know when. I can't give you the exact time, but it's going to come together. Everything's coming full circle."

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