Every Thursday I’ll present an interesting (to me, anyway) stat, break it down, and try to provide some context heading into the game the following weekend.
Rushing to judgment
The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off the worst season in terms of rushing production in team history. The team set franchise lows in total rushing yards (1,369), average yards per game (85.6) and rushing touchdowns (five). Only the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders had fewer rushing TDs (four). Obviously that was because Maurice Jones-Drew missed most of the season with a Lisfranc injury.
The ground game should be significantly better this season, and not just because Jones-Drew is healthy again. The Jaguars have the most depth in their backfield since Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor shared carries in 2008. The team signed unrestricted free agent Justin Forsett in March to be Jones-Drew’s primary backup and a change-of-pace option. Forsett has rushed for 1,661 yards and eight touchdowns, and caught 100 passes for 768 yards and one touchdown and worked as a kickoff and punt returner in five seasons with Seattle, Indianapolis and Houston.
Though Forsett missed all of camp with a toe injury, he is expected to play on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Fifth-round draft pick Denard Robinson will get work as a running back and wildcat quarterback. He was a quarterback for much of his career at Michigan and holds the NCAA record for most rushing yards by quarterback (4,495), as well as the single-season record for rushing yards by quarterback (1,702).
One of the surprises of the preseason was first-year player Jordan Todman, who was the Jaguars’ leading rusher (223 yards). He’ll play mainly on special teams, but also will get work in the backfield.