JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – James Robinson is, apparently, back.
The Jacksonville Jaguars finally got the second-year running back going in Sunday’s 31-19 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at TIAA Bank Field. He ran for 88 yards and a touchdown and caught six passes for 46 yards in his most significant work of the season.
Does that mean offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is going to commit more to Robinson and the run game going forward? Sure sounds like it.
“I thought (Robinson) was fantastic,” coach Urban Meyer said. “He's been practicing like that. I thought Carlos (Hyde) ran hard. Just probably need to give him the ball even a little bit more. Yeah, that was impressive, especially who you're playing. That team is a good team, and just had them on their heels, and I think it was eight straight runs in that third quarter.
“Yeah, those guys are running hard, and we're going to continue to get them the ball.”
In the Jaguars' first two games, Robinson had just 16 carries for 72 yards and caught six passes for 46 yards, including only five carries for 25 yards in the season-opening road loss to the Houston Texans. He got more work in Week 2 – 11 carries for 47 yards – but that still wasn’t enough work considering he was averaging 4.5 yards per carry.
That means in Week 3, Robinson had only one fewer carry (15) and the same number of receptions (six) as he did the first two weeks combined.
Hyde also had his best game of the season with eight carries for 44 yards. He had 11 carries for 51 yards in the first two games.
Robinson and Hyde allowed the Jaguars’ offense to finally be balanced Sunday after being skewed toward the pass the first two weeks. Including rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s six carries, the Jaguars ran it 29 times (for 159 yards), and the No. 1 pick in this year's pass also threw 34 passes.
But Robinson should be the focal point of the offense the way he was last season, when he ran for 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns and caught 49 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns. Meyer has repeatedly said running the ball is the best way to protect a young quarterback, especially one who has turned the ball over 10 times.
It’s going to be tough. The Jaguars’ next two opponents – the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday and Tennessee Titans on Oct. 10 – are allowing 78.3 and 100 yards per game rushing, respectively. But the Jaguars’ best plan on offense is to control the ball, limit the turnovers and eat up the clock.
That should mean Robinson’s workload will increase.