When the Jacksonville Jaguars signed running back Toby Gerhart, the belief among many was that he was coming in as a change of pace/possible platoon role. But it appears as if general manager Dave Caldwell has bigger plans for Gerhart, who he feels is a three-down back and should be within range to collect 300 carries.
In most instances, proven NFL running backs tend to establish themselves long before their fifth season. Gerhart had a season-high 109 carries for 531 yards in 2011, when he started four games for the injured Peterson. That’s his biggest NFL workload. The Jaguars are banking on his production not trailing off if Gerhart gets into the 240- to 300-carry range.
“When you watch plays he was involved in, he averaged 4.7 yards per carry [in the NFL],” said Caldwell. “I scouted him a lot coming out of college and had a really good understanding of him. I think he can be a really good fit for us on first and second down, in pass protection and catching the ball out of the backfield.”
Caldwell is a former member of the Atlanta Falcons front office who signed Michael Turner, a player somewhat built in the same mold as Gerhart. Of course, Gerhart producing at the same level as Turner did for a few seasons is still a looming question mark, but it sounds like he’ll be given every opportunity to do so this season.