Yeldon (ankle) has been impressive as a pass blocker and pass catcher in the early stages of training camp, First Coast News reports.
Coach Doug Marrone hinted before training camp that Yeldon's workload might need to be managed as he returned from January ankle surgery, but it seems the third-year running back hasn't been limited through the first week of training camp. With Leonard Fournette set to immediately take over as the lead rusher, Yeldon likely knows that the passing game represents his best shot at retaining a significant role. Given that he offers the best mix of receiving and pass-blocking ability among the team's running backs, Yeldon figures to take the field for obvious passing downs even if Fournette proves to be a capable receiving threat. The likely role gives Yeldon some added appeal as a handcuff for the rookie, though the continued presence of Chris Ivory suggests the rushing workload would be split in the event of a Fournette injury.
Yeldon (ankle) is expected to practice Thursday, Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union reports. "We'll start [working] T.J. and see where he's at and how much of a workload he can take," head coach Doug Marrone said. "He's worked extremely hard and has been here most of the off-season. We'll monitor him."
Yeldon -- who finished the 2016 season on injured reserve due to an ankle injury -- underwent corrective surgery in January, according to Mark Inabinett of AL.com, and subsequently missed the entire offseason program while in recovery. While it seems he may not be back to 100 percent yet, the fact he wasn't placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list suggests it may not be long until he's back to running full speed.
Yeldon's return to full health will be especially important this offseason after the team selected Leonard Fournette in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, creating even more competition alongside Chris Ivory. Yeldon, who missed the 2016 regular-season finale due to an ankle injury, ran for just 465 yards on 130 carries last year, but proved his worth as a pass catcher with 50 receptions for 312 yards.
Yeldon (ankle) and Chris Ivory will be joined by No. 4 overall draft pick Leonard Fournette in the Jacksonville backfield, Jim Kleinpeter of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
The Jaguars heavily invested in their backfield the past two offseasons, selecting Yeldon at No. 36 overall in the 2015 draft, and then signing Ivory to a five-year, $32 million contract the following March. The result last season was a rushing attack that ranked 22nd in the NFL in yards per game (101.9) and 17th in yards per carry (4.2), with both of those marks getting a major boost from quarterback Blake Bortles, who took 58 carries for 359 yards (6.2 YPC). Ivory and Yeldon both fell shy of four yards per carry, but the latter did at least contribute 50 catches -- albeit for only 312 yards -- which should help him stay relevant in the Jacksonville backfield as a likely passing-down complement to Fournette. Yeldon missed the final game of last season with an ankle injury, but he should have time to make a full recovery before training camp, if he hasn't already.
Yeldon and Ivory entered 2016 in a committee, with both ultimately held back by a combination of injuries, poor running and the general ineffectiveness of Jacksonville's ground attack. It sounds as if the team's early plan is to take a similar approach in 2017, hoping that better health and better blocking will lead to improved results. Should the committee shape up as expected, Yeldon would get most of the passing-down work and some of the carries, while Ivory would handle more carries along with short-yardage/goal-line work. The Jaguars might also consider involving Corey Grant and/or a draft pick in the potential committee, which would potentially dilute Yeldon's involvement even further.
|P4||8/31/17||@ ATL||7:00 pm|
|1||9/10/17||@ HOU||1:00 pm|
|4||10/1/17||@ NYJ||1:00 pm|
|5||10/8/17||@ PIT||1:00 pm|
|7||10/22/17||@ IND||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 8|
|11||11/19/17||@ CLE||1:00 pm|
|12||11/26/17||@ ARI||4:25 pm|
|16||12/24/17||@ SF||4:05 pm|
|17||12/31/17||@ TEN||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|