In 2017, we saw running back Corey Grant make game breaking plays on special teams for the Jacksonville Jaguars. His speed gave something to the Jaguars that they’ve been lacking in past years: explosiveness. However, the team couldn’t seem to figure out how to use him until the final game in the AFC Championship.
In that game we saw Corey Grant bring that same special teams explosiveness to the offense in the first half. Grant caught 3/3 targets for a total of 59 receiving yards with receptions gaining 24, 20, and 15 yards. It was clear the Jaguars were trying to utilize Grant on perimeter screens to stretch the field horizontally.
“We knew we wanted to put him in there and put him on the perimeter,” head coach Doug Marrone said after the game.
Grant was clearly a part of the game plan from the beginning. The question by the end of the game for Jaguars’ fans became:
“Why did Corey Grant disappear in the second half?”
The answer to this question was the conservative play calling by offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett as the team tried to run the clock out too early. The offense lost all momentum while Tom Brady led the Patriots up and down the field to come back. We saw those creative and momentum building plays disappear and the offense dissipate as Brady took the breath out of the Jaguars defense.
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Corey Grant will prove valuable whenever the offense loses momentum later in their games. His extreme acceleration and elusiveness catches opponents off guard and seems to result in a 15-plus yard plays. These screen plays out to the flat are where he can shine in 2018.
“I thought Corey – once again, he’s a guy that stepped in [last season] and did a great job there at the end – and he’s just a guy we’ve got to get out there,” Hackett said, per Mike Kaye of First Coast News.
The fact that the Jaguars didn’t add any running backs during the offseason solidifies Grant’s role this upcoming year. The Jaguars’ tight ends and receivers did a nice job of blocking for him on these screens. The addition of veteran tight ends Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Niles Paul will provides more blocking ability. The Jaguars now have a recipe for consistently explosive plays with Grant in 2018.