The Jaguars faced plenty of injury-related uncertainty with respect to their running backs room this offseason, but there is positive news on that front. It appears the team will have each of their top two backfield options available to start the season.
When speaking to reporters earlier this week, head coach Doug Pederson said, via Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper, that James Robinson will be in the lineup against the Commanders Week 1. That would represent a return to full health for the 24-year-old along the timeline Jacksonville envisioned.
Robinson suffered a torn Achilles in December, but has made steady progress while recovering this offseason. His return would be a welcomed sight, given his 2,400 scrimmage yards over the first two seasons of his career – a total no one foresaw given his status as a UDFA. That makes him eligible for an extension, though it is unlikely he will see one until after he is back on the field for a sustained period.
The other impediment to a deal for Robinson is, of course, his competition for snaps in the backfield. 2021 first-rounder Travis Etienne is also healthy, after missing his rookie campaign due to a Lisfranc injury. The former Clemson alum and Trevor Lawrence running mate projects as the Jaguars’ lead back and a notable component of the team’s passing game.
Robinson should still see a significant workload in a timeshare, but if Etienne lives up to his draft stock Robinson could understandably be deemed expendable. Jacksonville also drafted Snoop Conner this past April, providing depth in case of injury and a long-term cost-effective backup should Robinson head elsewhere. Much of his future will depend, though, on his 2022 performance, something which should indeed begin this Sunday.