He would like to fulfill his potential as a featured back, but Denard Robinson, Bernard Pierce and T.J. Yeldon are also in the competition.
Little has gone right for Gerhart, but he is taking a positive and realistic approach to the 2015 season.
"That's how it is everywhere in the NFL," he told Associated Press. "You're fighting for your livelihood. Every year, there's someone younger coming in to try to take your job. All you can worry about is doing your best and see what happens."
A new offensive scheme could swing the odds in his favor. The Jaguars are switching over from an outside-zone attack to an inside-zone scheme, which suits Gerhart just fine. The 231-pounder felt uncomfortable running outside the tackles last year. It did not fit his bruising style.
"I knew we were going to run some outside zone, but when we showed up in April for our first practice and our offensive vision was to be the best outside-zone team in the league, I was like, 'Dang, that's not what I thought.' It was difficult."
Gerhart finished last season with a career-low 3.2 yards per carry on 101 attempts. It was not the production expected after the team signed him to a three-year, $10 million deal.
"It’s feeling good," Gerhart said of the ankle that bothered him all of last season. "I feel healthy for the first time since last September. Feeling good and excited to go out there and be healthy and fresh this spring and show what I can do and compete."
Gerhart's new role will open him up to be a bigger part of the passing game.
"I’m learning the F [H-back] and running some of that and also taking just as many reps at tailback and competing and just trying to be the best I can be and see what happens," Gerhart said. "A lot of it so far has been a lot of routes and stuff like that, not so much iso downhill, more get me out in the flat, get me in pass pro and get out. It’s exciting to move around and we’ll see what happens."
Gerhart averaged just 3.2 yards on 101 carries last season while scoring two touchdowns. His average of 9.3 yards per reception represented a season high.
According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the Jaguars are planning to move Gerhart around on offense at H-back in addition to running back. This also means the Jaguars will be in the market for additional help at running back.
Gerhart was plagued by injuries in 2014, which paved the way for
Robinson's 2014 season ended on injured reserve with a mid-foot sprain.
Gerhart's season ended with just 326 yards and a patry 3.2 yards per carry average. Robinson emerged late in the year and ran for 582 yards and held a 4.3 yards per carry average.
"He's done a good job. With a new offensive staff, that's what we're in the process of doing right now – looking at everybody's strengths and how to best utilize those," Bradley said. "Toby has done a nice job for us. I know people may consider him a third down-type back or a short-yardage, situational back but we saw him do enough good things on first and second downs that he'll have a place with us. He is a different style of back and we're putting together an offense that best utilizes his strength."
Gerhart dealt with foot and rib injuries throughout the year, which limited him to 14 games in 2014. He finished with only 101 carries for 326 yards and two touchdowns. He'll compete with Denard Robinson and Storm Johnson. Jordan Todman will be a restricted free agent in March.
"I’m just glad this year is over [so he can] put 2014 behind me and I’m looking forward to getting healthy in 2015," Gerhart said. "Every week it seemed there was something. It started off with the foot, and that nagged forever. It was a frustrating year, and I’m excited that this one’s behind me and looking forward to the future."
Gerhart, who played in 14 games, had just 101 carries for 326 yards in 2014 after being touted as the workhorse running back coming into the season by coach Gus Bradley. Gerhart also dealt with foot and rib injuries throughout the season.
"He’s never been hurt like that," Bradley said. "I think we started to see signs of him do some good things. I know he was frustrated over that: 'I wanted to help this team more but I didn’t anticipate I’d be hurt like I was. But yeah, we still think highly of him."
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
Men's Nike Teal Jacksonville Jaguars Legend Icon Performance T-Shirt Shop Now!