Thursday, September 12, 2013
Lack of rhythm kept Robinson off field
By Michael DiRocco
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Denard Robinson's production certainly didn’t match the buildup for the player the Jaguars listed as an “offensive weapon.”
He had two carries for 1 yard in the Jaguars’ season-opening loss to Kansas City.
The reason, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said, has nothing to do with Robinson’s work in practice. Robinson wasn’t involved as much because the offense was so stagnant that Fisch didn’t want to try the wildcat formation until the Jaguars at least began moving the ball with some consistency.
That didn’t materialize in the first quarter (12 yards on five possessions), so Fisch did try the wildcat early in the second quarter. Robinson gained 1 yard.
"When you’re trying to find a rhythm you don’t want to be searching for something," Fisch said. "I think Maurice Jones-Drew had 15 carries for 45 yards or so. I would have preferred to call one more handoff to Maurice if we got ahead of the chains at all, rather than say let’s try a wildcat gimmick play.
"If we can get the chains moving and get a couple first downs now there’s a place for some more of the creativity."
Getting the chains moving may still be a pretty tough chore considering five key offensive players -- not including quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game at Oakland -- are battling injuries. Tight end Marcedes Lewis (calf), receivers Mike Brown (back) and Cecil Shorts (groin), and guards Uche Nwaneri (knee) and Will Rackley (knee) were all limited in practice on Thursday.
Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said it may take until Sunday morning before he’ll know if Lewis and Brown are able to play.
With Brown and Shorts ailing and Justin Blackmon serving a four-game suspension, the Jaguars have just two healthy available receivers: rookie fourth-round pick Ace Sanders and Stephen Burton, whom the team claimed off waivers on Sept. 1. The Jaguars have two receivers on the practice squad -- first-year player Jeremy Ebert and rookie Tobais Palmer -- so they could promote one if Brown is unable to play.
Robinson, who holds the NCAA record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a career (4,495 yards) and in a single-season (1,702), was drafted with the thought that he could play running back and receiver. However, he has had issues with his hands and spent extra time during training camp working with Shorts and coaches to try and improve.
His second carry last Sunday came as a running back, which is where he’ll likely see the bulk of his playing time. The wildcat formation will make an appearance, but only if the offense is able to generate some kind of rhythm.
"When your down and distance gets skewed so does your play call and so does the balance that you’re looking for," Fisch said.