Leonard Fournette

Leonard Fournette To Return Sunday

A hamstring ailment ruined the first half of Leonard Fournette‘s second NFL season, but it looks like he’ll be ready soon to attempt to salvage the second half of it.

The Jaguars expect their starting running back to play Sunday against the Colts, Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com notes. Doug Marrone said Friday that Fournette is “completely healthy” and has not endured a setback during his latest recovery from this troublesome malady.

Fournette’s played in just two games, totaling merely 45 snaps, this season because of this injury. Multiple previous Fournette rehab efforts on this front brought multiple setbacks, inducing the Jaguars to trade for Carlos Hyde. But it appears the Jags will have both available when they play a crucial game in Indianapolis on Sunday.

This was expected to be Fournette’s return date, with the Jaguars coming off of their bye week. The former top-five pick came back against the Jets in Week 4, but that re-emergence was incredibly brief. Jacksonville shut down its offensive centerpiece for several weeks.

Fournette finished with 1,040 rushing yards and nine touchdowns last season. He’ll be counted on for consistent production for a Jags team that, at 3-5, is on the verge of going from AFC South favorite to slinking out of the playoff race.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Bell, Jags, Bosa, Michel

The Steelers are still hopeful that they can trade Le’Veon Bell and net a third-round pick or better in return before Tuesday’s deadline, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Bell, as we heard earlier this week, does not want to be traded, and given that he would need to sign his franchise tender before he can be dealt, he holds all the cards in that regard. La Canfora tweets that Bell (predictably) balked at returning to the Steelers on the exempt list, so there are still plenty of moving pieces to keep an eye on before this situation is finally resolved.

Now let’s take a quick swing around the AFC:

  • Blake Bortles played decently for the Jaguars during their loss in London today, but we heard earlier this week that the fifth-year pro is on a short leash after he was benched during last Sunday’s loss to the Texans. However, Albert Breer of TheMMQB observes that Bortles still took the lion’s share of first-team reps in practice this week (though Cody Kessler did get a few, as anticipated), so it does not appear that there is a quarterback competition at the moment.
  • La Canfora writes that the Jaguars were very much interested in Kirk Cousins last offseason and were prepared to offer him a significant free agent contract and move on from Bortles. However, they were not willing to meet the $30MM-per-year figure that Cousins ultimately got from the Vikings (they hoped to land him for something in the $20-24MM range). Instead, of course, they gave Bortles a pay-as-you-go, team-friendly extension, which allows the club the flexibility to move on this offseason if it so chooses.
  • Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette is expected to return to the field for Jacksonville’s Week 10 matchup on November 11 against the Colts, per Schefter.
  • It does not appear as if the Chargers will get Joey Bosa back for their November 4 matchup against the Seahawks, as they had been hoping for some time. Although Bosa is making progress, Schefter writes that he is not “anywhere near ready to play right now.” It is unclear when Bosa will make his much-anticipated return to the field, but the wait will carry until at least the second week of November.
  • Sony Michel returned to practice for the Patriots yesterday, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. While Michel will not play in the team’s Monday night contest against the Bills tomorrow, he may be ready to go against the Packers next week. Reiss adds that New England could promote Kenneth Farrow from the taxi squad for tomorrow’s game in order to give themselves three healthy backs.
  • The relationship between Browns HC Hue Jackson and OC Todd Haley is not improving, and one of the two could be relieved of his duties in short order.

Latest On Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette

Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette has been officially ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Texans, which marks the third missed game for Fournette this year out of a possible seven. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that Fournette will also miss the team’s game in London against the Eagles next week. Jacksonville will then have its Week 9 bye on November 4, and the team hopes to have Fournette back the following week. The Jags currently have no plans to put Fournette on IR.

[RELATED: Jaguars Acquire RB Carlos Hyde From Browns]

Fournette’s nagging hamstring injury has kept him off of the field for much of the year and limited his production when on the turf. Fournette carried the ball just nine times in the season opener against the Giants, though he made the most of those totes with 41 yards (4.56 yards per carry) before exiting the game early. In Week 4 against the Jets, he garnered 11 carries, though he averaged just 2.73 yards per try.

It’s a frustrating situation for both Fournette and the Jaguars. Ever since his days at LSU, Fournette has struggled with leg injuries, both to his ankle and hamstring.

Moments after Fournette was ruled out for this week, the Jaguars shipped a fifth-round pick to the Browns in exchange for Carlos Hyde. Hyde is inactive for the team’s Week 7 contest this afternoon, but he will ultimately pair with T.J. Yeldon (and, hopefully, Fournette) to give Jacksonville a nice trio of backs.

Yeldon doesn’t offer the same kind of bruising power as Fournette, but he has been productive nonetheless. Heading into this week, Yeldon boasts an average of 4.5 yards per rushing attempt, plus 25 catches for 223 yards. All told, the 25-year-old has four touchdowns, which already marks a new single-season career best. The Jaguars would prefer to have a healthy Fournette, but Yeldon and Hyde could form a solid 1-2 punch in the interim.

After starting the year 2-0, the Jags have dropped three of their last four. After losing consecutive games to the Chiefs and Cowboys by a combined 49 points, they’re eager for a W against Houston.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Leonard Fournette Out Indefinitely

Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette just can’t seem to shake the injury bug. The talented runner is seemingly never fully healthy, and now appears to be looking at another multi-week absence after aggravating his hamstring injury in the team’s win over the Jets this past Sunday according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link).

Ever since his college days, Fournette has struggled with leg injuries, both to his ankle and hamstring. Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said he didn’t know how long Fournette would miss this time, but Schefter writes it “figures to be at least” two games. It’ll be a tough blow to the Jaguars’ offense as they prepare for a tough game against the Chiefs this Sunday.

Fournette injured his hamstring in the team’s opener against the Giants, then missed the next two weeks. It appears the team rushed him back too early, and will likely be very cautious with him moving forward. Before his set-back, Fournette carried the ball 11 times for 30 yards against New York, and was mostly bottled up.

While it’s still unclear exactly how much time he’ll miss, hamstrings can often linger for a while. The Jaguars have gotten out to a hot start and will likely hold him out as long as possible as long as they can continue winning games without him. For now they’ll move forward with T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant as the lead backs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette

After having missed the past two games, Leonard Fournette was back on the field today for the Jaguars win over the Jets. Unfortunately, his return didn’t last all that long, as the running back was ruled out at halftime after reinjuring his hamstring.

The 23-year-old looked a bit rusty during the first half, compiling only 30 rushing yards on 11 carries (good for an underwhelming 2.7-yard average). He was sent to the sideline multiple times with “hamstring tightness,” but he wasn’t officially ruled out until the start of the third quarter. This was certainly frustrating news for the Jaguars and their former first-rounder. There had been conflicting reports throughout the week regarding his availability for today’s game, and we’re sure neither side was expecting that Fournette would end up reaggravating the injury.

Fournette dealt with injuries during his tenure at LSU, and he missed three regular season games during his rookie campaign. Still, the running back proved his worth in 2017, as he managed to compile 1,040 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

Fortunately for the Jaguars, T.J. Yeldon has seemed to come into own during his fourth NFL season. The former second-rounder had another solid outing on Sunday, rushing for 52 yards and a score on 18 carries. He also added another three receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown. Jacksonville is also rostering running back Corey Grant and Brandon Wilds.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Bucs, Reid, Titans, Jags, Colts

The Titans will have their offensive line intact on Sunday against the Eagles. Jack Conklin is returning after missing the first three games, and the third-year right tackle starter appears to be glad his rehab took this careful route from the ACL tear that required a full offseason and some regular-season time to overcome. It looks like the Titans’ decision to keep Conklin off their PUP list was critical, since a PUP designation would’ve shelved him for the season’s first six weeks.

I honestly feel better than I’ve ever felt playing,” Conklin said, via Erik Bacharach of The Tennesseean. “I feel faster, I feel quicker, and I’m honestly a lot stronger than I’ve ever been playing.”

Conklin and Taylor Lewan haven’t played in a full game together since the Titans’ wild card win over the Chiefs. Lewan suffered a concussion earlier this season but is now back at his left tackle spot. Both players are signed through at least 2019, although it’s a near-lock the Titans will pick up Conklin’s fifth-year option next May.

Here’s how some other South-division teams look going into their Week 4 games:

  • Dirk Koetter wanted Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken to focus more on the offense as a whole rather than having to split time between OC duties and wide receivers coach as he previously did. It was Koetter’s decision to hire a wideouts coach, Skyler Fulton, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times notes. Monken then took over devising the Bucs’ practice scripts before calling plays in the preseason, per Stroud, who adds Koetter made a concerted effort to accelerate Bucs camp practices in order to squeeze in more work. Stroud argues it was a smart decision for the Bucs to stick with Koetter, a chopping-block candidate after 2017’s disappointment, than bringing back Jon Gruden.
  • The risk Le’Veon Bell will wear down as his late-20s seasons commence should induce the Colts to stay away from the soon-to-be 27-yard-old running back in free agency, at least at the price he seeks, Nat Newell of the Indianapolis Star writes. Chris Ballard‘s repeated mantra reiterations of building through the draft makes it unlikely the Colts will trade for Bell, Newell adds. The Colts are projected to possess a staggering (and league-most) $126MM in cap space in 2019. They could more than afford Bell and do not have much in the way of proven ball-carrying talent. But the risk of not getting value from this unique free agent would make an investment risky.
  • Eric Reid‘s Panthers contract maxes out at $2MM and includes $1MM in base salary. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero has numbers for the gray area in between, tweeting the sixth-year safety could earn up to $610K through incentives. Wage bumps for playing time and a Pro Bowl nod exist in this deal. Reid hasn’t made the Pro Bowl since 2014. Carolina’s on a bye this week, giving Reid additional time to acclimate to his new team’s defensive scheme.
  • Leonard Fournette sent and deleted a tweet that indicated he will be back for the Jaguars‘ Week 4 game against the Jets, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk notes. The second-year running back included the phrase “happy to be back” in his since-deleted tweet, providing a good sign he’s ready to return from the hamstring malady that cost him two games (and perhaps a decent sign the Jags don’t want the Jets knowing this a day in advance). The Jags went 1-1 without their offensive centerpiece.

Injury Notes: Fournette, Ansah, Michel, Burkhead, Barron

Inactive lists for the late slate of games are starting to roll in, and are providing answers to some key injury questions. Perhaps the biggest mystery of the week was the status of Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette. We finally have clarity, as Fournette will officially miss Jacksonville’s Week 2 game against the Patriots with his hamstring injury according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link).

It’s a big blow for the Jaguars who like to establish the running game and make things easy for Blake Bortles. They did get some good news however as Calais Campbell, who was a very late add to the injury report, will play. Here are more injury notes from around the league:

  • The Lions’ already weak defense will be without their best player, as Ezekiel Ansah will be sidelined with a shoulder injury per Michael Rothstein of ESPN (Twitter link). Ian Rapoport had previously tweeted Ansah was expected to play, so this is a bit of a surprise.
  • The Patriots’ backfield got some good news as both Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead will suit up per Ben Volin of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). Burkhead was cleared from the concussion protocol while Michel will make his NFL debut after missing most of the offseason with a knee injury.
  • The Rams will be without starting linebacker Mark Barron for a second straight week per ProFootballTalk (Twitter link). It’s bad news for Los Angeles as their linebackers were shredded over the middle last week by tight end Jared Cook for 180 yards.

Injury Notes: Wentz, Bosa, Mariota

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz could be cleared for contact this week, and that may put him on track to make his 2018 debut in Week 3, as was suggested last Sunday. But Rapoport says the team is in no rush to have Wentz return to game action, because it is more concerned about the next 10 to 15 years, not the next 10 to 15 minutes. As such, if the Eagles need to keep Wentz out longer to make sure he is fully recovered from his torn ACL and LCL, they are fully committed to doing so.

However, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that Wentz is indeed on track to be back under center for the Eagles against the Colts next week, and he suggests that Philadelphia will have no issue in deploying Wentz as soon as he is cleared for contract.

Now let’s take a look at a few more reports concerning injuries to some of the league’s biggest names:

  • This is not much of a surprise given a report from earlier this week, but Schefter reports that Chargers DE Joey Bosa is expected to be sidelined until at least October. Bosa is continuing to rehab his foot with the hope that the swelling goes down and the foot stabilizes, but surgery is still very much in play if that does not happen.
  • Titans QB Marcus Mariota has not yet regained complete feeling in his fingers, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Schefter adds (via Twitter) that Mariota is still unable to grip the football normally as a result, which means that Blaine Gabbert may be starting under center for Tennessee for at least Week 2.
  • Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette is unlikely to play against the Patriots today, per Schefter, but it sounds as though Fournette is making good progress in his recovery from the hamstring injury he suffered last week. Even if the second-year back is unable to suit up today, he could be back in action next week.
  • Rapoport confirms (via Twitter) a report from Tuesday that Panthers TE Greg Olsen is hoping to return much sooner than was originally anticipated when he fractured his foot in the team’s season-opening win over the Cowboys. Rapoport says that Olsen hopes to be back on the field in four to five weeks, and he will have the foot — the same one he broke last year — reevaluated after the season.
  • We received a status update on Packers QB Aaron Rodgers earlier today.

Latest On RB Leonard Fournette

After suffering a hamstring injury during last weekend’s win over the Giants, it was uncertain if Leonard Fournette would suit up for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. While the running back has sat out the last two days of practice, he’s optimistic that he’ll be ready to go.

“I like [the chances of playing] now since the day’s been going on more and more,” Fournette told ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco. “It’s feeling better and better…Any person would give anything to play, especially [since] it’s a great football team we’re going against. Just have to see. My main focus is to strengthen it back up, get the swelling or whatever that is in there [down], and come out Sunday and play.”

Fournette also told ESPN’s Jeff Darling that it will likely come down to a game-time decision (Twitter link).

After compiling 41 yards on nine carries, Fournette said he heard a pop after planting his right leg during a first-half play. Head coach Doug Marrone didn’t sound overly worried about his running back’s status for Sunday, noting that the injury was suffered in a “good part” of the leg. Marrone also cited that Fournette knows how to deal with the pain.

If Fournette is forced out of the lineup, the Jaguars will likely turn to backup T.J. Yeldon. The former second-round compiled 51 yards on 14 carries last weekend, and he added another three receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown. Corey Grant is the only other running back on the active roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Fournette, Texans, 49ers, Jackson

Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette left today’s win over the Giants with a hamstring injury. While the second-year star was forced to sit out more than half the contest, the team isn’t overly worried about his availability for next week’s game against the Patriots.

“They said it was in a good part,” said head coach Doug Marrone (via Hays Carlyon of 1010XL on Twitter). “I don’t know if there’s any good part of those things. It’s something that he felt like, he’s had it before, he knows how to treat it. That makes things pretty optimistic, which normally I’m not that optimistic.”

Before exiting today’s contest, Fournette had run for 41 yards on nine carries. He also added another three receptions for 14 yards. If the running back were to miss any time, the Jaguars would presumably turn to backup T.J. Yeldon.

Let’s take a look at some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Texans right tackle Seantrel Henderson broke a bone in his ankle during today’s loss to the Patriots, reports NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter). It’s uncertain how much time the 26-year-old will miss. The lineman suffered the injury after getting his ankle stuck under Patriots defensive lineman Keionta Davis. Henderson missed the preseason after having a noncancerous cyst removed, but the free agent addition was expected to still serve as a starter for the Texans.
  • 49ers linebacker Brock Coyle suffered a concussion during today’s loss to the Vikings, reports Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (via Twitter). The 27-year-old had compiled six tackles during the contest. Coyle appeared in 16 games (10 starts) for San Francisco last season, finishing with 64 tackles. 0.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. Maiocco adds that offensive guards Mike Person and Joshua Garnett both looked fine in the locker room after leaving the game with foot injuries.
  • Buccaneers wideout DeSean Jackson suffered a concussion during today’s win over the Saints, according to ESPN’s Jenna Laine. The receiver suffered the injury in the fourth quarter following a hit from Ken Crowley. The 31-year-old had a standout day for Tampa Bay, hauling in five catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns.