The Jaguars offense slowed down after Leonard Fournette left the field in Week 1. Fortunately, his hamstring ailment isn’t that serious.
Leonard Fournette was off to a really good start until tightness in his hamstring forced him to exit the Jacksonville Jaguars’ opening game at the New York Giants. Jacksonville was able to hang on for the victory against New York, but the Jaguars coaching staff is happy to know they won’t need to repeat that feat in Week 2.
That’s because Doug Marrone should have his running back on the field for their home opener against the Patriots. All indications emanating from Jacksonville insist the injury to Fournette’s hamstring is minor. The bruising running back wore a sleeve over his right leg on Monday, but he should be good to go against New England.
That’s excellent news for Blake Bortles and the rest of the team’s offense. This isn’t a team that can go toe to toe with a Tom Brady led offense and win. The Jaguars are doomed to lose any sort of shootout with the Patriots.
Instead, their blueprint for knocking off Bill Belichick’s team will rely on controlling the ball on offense and winning the game with their dominant defense. That’s the formula that the team rode to playoff success in 2017 and it’s still the right way for them to play against elite opponents in 2018.
With all due respect to T.J. Yeldon, Fournette has to play for the Jaguars to execute that plans. He’s the perfect running back to use to bludgeon the Patriots defense. Fournette may not break off a bunch of long touchdown runs, but he can hammer the New England defense for first down after first down. If successful, that serves to wear the opposition down and keep Brady cold on the sideline.
Of course, the Jaguars will keep a close eye on Fournette during practice this week. Beating New England on Sunday would be great, but the team can’t afford to rush its franchise running back onto the field if it risks his ability to stay healthy for the rest of the season. Fournette has to be on the field for Jacksonville down the stretch if the Jags want to make noise in the playoffs.
The real news here is that Fournette won’t be forced to miss significant playing time due to his hamstring injury. That’s great news for the Jaguars now and in the future.