JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette returned to practice on Monday. It was the first time he practiced since aggravating his right hamstring injury in Week 4 against the New York Jets.
Fournette was able to practice in full on Wednesday and Thursday. That gives the Jaguars hope that he’ll be back on the field this Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
“He is our guy, and he has been out for seven weeks now or whatever it has been,” said Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. “I know everyone is fired up to have him back in the lineup. I know I am excited to watch him run. I know guys are excited to block for him and see him go. We got so used to him doing his thing last year and watching that and being able to do everything off of that, so not having him has made us change some of the things we do. To be able to have him back healthy and ready to go is exciting.”
With Fournette missing from the lineup the Jaguars have looked nothing like the power running team they said they wanted to be. Last season they led the NFL in rushing yards per game (141.1) and had the second most rushing touchdowns (18).
Through eight game this year Jacksonville is 24th in rushing yards per game (95) and dead last with only two rushing touchdowns.
The lack of a consistent running game has led to the Jaguars defense being on the field for extended amounts of time. The guys on that side of the ball are also excited about Fournette’s potential return to the lineup.
“That is the hope,” said Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey when asked if Fournette’s return could help the entire team. “I know I’m happy about him coming back. I know everybody should be because it’s going to help us a lot where it is needed.”
If Fournette does play the question is will the Jaguars limit his workload?
“You’re asking me if he is able to play, are we going to kind of hold back or just kind of work him into it?, said Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone. “We are full-boring everybody. Once a guy is ready to play, that has to be our expectation. I think you get into trouble when you put a player on the field and he is not able to live up to the expectation that you have for him meaning that all of a sudden now if something happens, it’s kind of like a built-in excuse. That’s the way I’ve always viewed it. I have always told players [if someone says], ‘I’m going to go out there, but I don’t feel like whatever ...’ What does that mean? If they say, ‘I’m not 100 percent, I can’t do what’s expected of me.’ Well, then, I can’t put him on the field.”