As the Jaguars' season has spiraled away into the abyss, most of the blame has been directed toward quarterback Blake Bortles, who has performed like Blake Bortles for the entirety of the season, and the defense, which has taken a substantial step backwards after leading the team to the conference title game a season ago. Leonard Fournette also deserves some blame.
In his second season, Fournette has both struggled to stay on the field and has struggled even when he has been healthy enough to play. So far this season, Fournette has rushed for 396 yards and four touchdowns. He's averaging 3.4 yards per carry, and he's yet to cross the 100-yard threshold in a game this season. He's played in only seven games as he's dealt with a hamstring injury and
On Friday, ahead of the Jaguars' Week 16 matchup with the Dolphins, which you can stream on fuboTV (Try for free), Fournette admitted he could be in better shape at this point in the season.
"I could be in better shape," Fournette said, via the Jaguars' website. "But I'm fine, though."
That being said, it's worth noting that missing as many games as Fournette has missed might've played a role in his game shape at this point the season. It's difficult to remain in game shape when you're missing game after game. It doesn't automatically mean Fournette is lazy and overweight. To get into game shape, players need to be healthy.
What can be said is that after getting selected with the fourth-overall pick in the 2017 draft, Fournette hasn't lived up to expectations. Last season, he eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark, but he averaged only 3.9 yards per carry. Through the first 20 games of his career, he's averaging 3.7 yards per carry. Making matters worse is that the running backs taken after Fournette have mostly thrived. Christian McCaffrey, taken eighth overall by the Panthers, ranks fourth in yards from scrimmage this season. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook and Bengals running back Joe Mixon, both taken in the second round, have both been more efficient than Fournette, though they have had their own injury issues. Alvin Kamara was drafted in the third round by the Saints, and . Tarik Cohen of the Bears is another notable running back drafted in the fourth round. The point being, the Jaguars reached for a running back when they could've taken a better running back later in the draft and used that high pick on another position.
Nobody should write off Fournette yet. Super Bowl contender to a team in transition in a span of one ugly season. To get back to where they were a year ago, the Jaguars don't just need to make improvements at quarterback and on the defensive side of the ball. They also need Fournette to take a step forward.and get a starting-caliber quarterback, a better passing game could open up holes for Fournette. But for now, the selection of Fournette is looking like a reach for a team that went from being a