James Robinson: Key to Jacksonville Jaguars Success in Week 4

James Robinson

James Robinson has been successful while on the field this year. The Jacksonville Jaguars have not seemed to commit to the run to the degree you would expect with a rookie quarterback. However, when called upon, Robinson has been reliable. The Jags have yet to win a game this season. Though most of the hype surrounds Trevor Lawrence, a strong run game can take the pressure off of Lawrence and help the team get their first win. We’ll take a look at Robinson’s usage, the run game as a whole, and a few other factors that should help the Jaguars get a victory this week against the Cincinnati Bengals.

James Robinson Is Key to Jacksonville Jaguars Success in Week 4

James Robinson So Far

The Jaguars run game has been a point of discussion for fans and commentators alike. A year removed from rushing for over 1000 yards and Robinson had just five rushing attempts in the Jaguars Week 1 loss to the Houston Texans. Although the Jags played from behind, there never seemed to be a commitment to the run that week. In fact, Lawrence threw the ball 51 times in his NFL debut. That’s simply too much for a rookie quarterback. Robinson averaged five yards a carry on five attempts and the coaches let penalties and other factors keep him from contributing more.

Since week one, Robinson has been more involved. On the season, he has 31 rushing attempts for 160 yards and one touchdown. That’s good for 5.2 yards per carry. Robinson is averaging a little over 10 carries per game to this point. He averaged 17 carries per game in the 2020 season. Of course, the team also has Carlos Hyde now, but Robinson is the starter.

In last week’s game, Robinson carried the ball 15 times for 88 yards and one touchdown. He also hauled in all six targets for 46 yards in the passing game. If Robinson runs in Week 4 like he did in Week 3, the Jags could be looking at their first victory in 2021.

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The Run Game as a Whole

In three games so far this season, the Jags have 61 rushing attempts for 310 yards. That’s good for 5.1 yards per carry. Notably, these numbers also include nine runs from Lawrence and two attempts from Laviska Shenault. The Jaguars are averaging 20 rushing attempts per game as a team.

Lawrence has passing attempt totals of 51, 33, and 34 in the first three games respectively. His total of 118 passing attempts averages out to just over 39 attempts per game. It’s no secret that Lawrence likes to sling the ball. However, as a rookie on a team that was 1-15 last season, the coaches need to ensure they’re setting their number one pick up for success. The passing attempts are almost double the rushing attempts to this point. Sliding both the running and passing games closer to even shares would work well for the Jags. Both Robinson and Hyde are rushing over five yards a carry and Lawrence doesn’t need to be attempting 40 passes a game.

Offensive Identity is Important

As mentioned already, a strong run game will be a major factor this Thursday night against the Bengals. If the Jags can get things going on the ground with James Robinson, it could also set them up for success in the air.

The team has not found its identity on offense yet. In fact, the Jaguars don’t have much rhythm on offense yet either. According to Fantasy Pros, the team has barely in work in the red zone. Lawrence has two passing attempts in the red zone and there are no rushing attempts in the red zone. A more balanced rhythm on offense will help the Jaguars get into the red zone, which should also make scoring more likely.

Defensive Highlights

On the defensive side of the ball, the Jags should be concerned with Joe Mixon and Ja’Marr Chase.

Mixon has 67 attempts for 286 yards and one score this year. He’s averaging 4.3 yards per attempt. Mixon is heavily involved in the offense. He’s been involved in at least 74% of offensive snaps each week. The Jaguars defense hasn’t allowed a 100 yard rushing performance yet this season. This week will be a test, as Mixon’s low of 69 yards is higher than any single rusher against the Jags so far this season.

Ja’Marr Chase was a big topic of discussion in the preseason. He had a lot of drops before the regular season. That’s over though. Chase has a 68.8% catch rate over his first three games. He’s got 11 receptions on 16 targets for 220 yards and four touchdowns in three weeks. Chase is tied for second in the league in touchdowns with Mike Williams, Rob Gronkowski, and Adam Thielen. That’s good company to be in.

Though the Bengals have other receiving threats, Chase is the most prolific to this point. Perhaps Shaquill Griffin should shadow him on Thursday. Griffin followed DeAndre Hopkins last week and was successful. Hopkins had three receptions for just 21 yards and no scores.

Limiting both Mixon and Chase will help the Jags secure a victory this week.

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