Fresh off the heels of an improbable run to the AFC Championship Game in 2017, the Jaguars were regarded as one of the top teams in the NFL and were poised for a run to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.
However, at the midway point of this season, the Jaguars (3-5) find themselves clinging to a slender hope to make the playoffs. The Jacksonville Jaguars have endured a disappointing and injury-riddled first half of the 2018 season, and now turn their focus to the remaining eight games to salvage the season.
Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts is a must win for the Jaguars and with Leonard Fournette returning, he must carry the team on his back to victory.
1st and 10 –Back to the Basics
The return of Fournette means the return to the game plan of 2017.
To pound the ball, control the ball, and find the endzone.
In order to return home with a victory on Sunday, the Jaguars need to go back to the basics. It starts up front with power run blocking and creating space for Fournette to gain positive yardage and keep the chains moving. Expect Fournette to receive 20-25 carries per game, and help control the ball and pace of play. By controlling the pace of play, Fournette will be assisting the defense as the game progresses and will help steer them back to the dominance shown in 2017.
2nd and 6- Screen Pass
Now is not the time for the Jaguars to send their most potent weapon to the sidelines for conventional passing downs. Fournette has proven his ability to contribute in the screen game and will be an asset against the Colts’ young defense.
Once Fournette gets into space it is difficult for a defender to bring him down alone. Quarterback Blake Bortles needs to get the football to his most dynamic playmaker, Fournette and allow him to make a defender miss and create positive yardage.
3rd and 2- Lenny Swag
Fournette brings a swagger that has been lacking for the Jaguars’ offense the first half. A swagger that cascades to the rest of the team, including the defense.
The rest of the team can feed off his swagger and will have more confidence and play with more passion. Just the presence of Fournette in the backfield makes opposing defenses concerned because of his high-powered abilities. Because of this, Jaguars’ offensive coordinator Nate Hackett does not need to be overly creative on short yardage as he can trust the process that made 2017 successful.
As the game moves along, Hackett can pick his spots to utilize Fournette as a decoy to take shots down the field to receivers D.J. Chark and Dede Westbrook with a play-action pass.
Leonard Fournette waved at Mike Mitchell and told him to come get a piece of him 😂pic.twitter.com/43tfc3ccXl
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) October 8, 2017
4th and Goal- Pay Dirt
Through eight games, the Jaguars have one rushing touchdown from a running back. T.J. Yeldon. That’s right, just one. Rams running back Todd Gurley has 12 rushing touchdowns by himself. This number will change in the second half for the Jaguars with Fournette in the backfield.
Fournette has an uncanny drive for the endzone that other running backs on the Jaguars roster do not possess. In 2017, Fournette hit pay dirt 13 times on the ground and his ability to find the goal line will be instrumental for a second half offensive resurgence.
There is no tomorrow. It’s time for Leonard Fournette to take the keys and be the game-changing offensive weapon the Jaguars selected 4th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.