The Jaguars are averaging only 90.7 yards per game rushing and Fournette hasn’t run for more than 66 yards in the first three games. He had negative yards until he busted a 69-yard run in the fourth quarter in Week 3 against the Titans, and Fournette admitted Thursday that he’s frustrated with the team’s struggles.
“There ain’t no doubt about that,” Fournette said. “It’s very frustrating. I want to … help the team as much as you can. I’m a running back first. I don’t mind pass blocking and those things but I’m a running back first, so it’s very frustrating at times.”
Coach Doug Marrone blamed the offensive line for the Jaguars’ lack of success in the run game, saying last week and again early this week that he, offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, and offensive line coach George Warhop are re-evaluating their scheme, execution and personnel. Left tackle Cam Robinson is being worked back into the rotation in his return from a torn left ACL and that should help, Marrone said, but the interior of the line has struggled the most.
Fournette is averaging just 1.84 yards per rush before first contact, which means he’s not getting cleanly through the offensive line.
“I’d be the first one to say Leonard has to do a better job, but we’re not giving him a chance,” Marrone said. “Until we give him a chance to see what he can do, that’s fine, but he’s doing everything he can. Each week, we’re telling him to do this, and there’s little things that people wouldn’t see that he’s been able to do to help us, yet we have to come up bigger and help him by doing a better job blocking.”
Fournette said the fact that the first-team offense played only a handful of snaps in the third preseason game may be playing a large role in the struggles.
“It’s not really adding up right now because you’ve got to have that [cohesiveness], especially with the running game,” Fournette said. “Nobody practiced, nobody played in none of the preseason games. I think that kind of messed up a lot of communication. Also, you’ve got to have timing too with the run game. I think we’re slowly getting back there.
“… It’s going to come together. I don’t know when. I can’t give you the exact time, but it’s going to come together. Everything’s coming full circle.”