Fournette said he now weighs 223 pounds, Jeff Duncan of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
Fournette has made good on his stated intention to return to his typical college weight around 225 pounds, after playing most of his rookie season at 230-235. He actually checked in at 240 during last year's combine, yet still managed to run the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds. With his size-speed combination proven to be rare at any weight, Fournette presumably shed pounds in an effort to improve his acceleration and agility, which seems like a wise decision on the heels of a rookie campaign in which he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry despite breaking off runs of 90 and 75 yards. Of course, a mediocre offensive line was also part of the problem, and the Jaguars responded in March when they signed G Andrew Norwell to a five-year, $66.5 million contract. While Fournette likely will sub out for T.J. Yeldon or Corey Grant on passing downs, the 23-year-old bruiser is still the unquestioned centerpiece of Jacksonville's offense, not to mention a legitimate candidate to lead the league in goal-line carries.
Fournette expects to enter training camp at 224 pounds, which is 11 pounds lighter than he was last season, John Reid of The Florida Times-Union reports. "I feel like I play my best at that weight -- 223, 224 -- that's what I played in college," the second-year running back said. "Why not? I don't want to be average. I want to be above average, be the greatest one to play this game. I feel lighter, quicker and I have a lot of my burst."
The Jaguars led the league in rushing behind Fournette last season with 141.4 yards per game. However, he struggled to break free for runs over 10 yards, as is evident by his 3.9 yards per carry. Teams stacked the box against the Jaguars as the season progressed, resulting in an average of less than four yards per carry for Fournette in five of the final seven games. Now, he heads into camp over 10 pounds lighter with a more concerted effort to stay in better shape in order to avoid injuries throughout the season -- he missed two contests last season due to ankle and thigh issues. Behind a revamped offensive line which includes the addition of former Panthers All-Pro Andrew Norwell, Fournette will enter camp as the undisputed workhorse as he looks to evolve from his power back perception, with T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant competing for the role of third-down back.
Norwell received the richest contract in league history for an interior lineman, though Cowboys G Zack Martin has since received a slightly larger deal. The Jaguars still don't have a dominant offensive line, and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a downgrade from Marcedes Lewis as a blocker, but the combination of Norwell and center Brandon Linder at least creates a clear area of strength in the left A-gap. The upgrade should help Fournette improve on his rookie-year mark of 3.9 yards per carry, though it's concerning that his average drops to 3.3 YPC if his two longest runs are removed. Regardless, the Jaguars seemingly intend to maintain Fournette's workload in the range of last season's 20.6 carries and 3.7 targets per game. T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant will get some snaps, especially on passing downs, but the team is committed to Fournette as its centerpiece.
Fournette (ankle) was listed as a limited participant at Wednesday's practice.
Per Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com, Fournette was not injured after being involved in a minor car accident on Tuesday, but his practice participation Wednesday was impacted by an ankle issue that forced the running back to exit this past Sunday's AFC divisional-round contest for a spell. We fully expect Fournette to be available for this weekend's AFC championship, but it remains to be seen if he approaches the contest with an injury designation or ends up being removed from the Jaguars' final injury report of the week come Friday.
Fournette, who sprained his right ankle in Sunday's 45-42 divisional-round win over the Steelers, is expected to participate in practice Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Though it's uncertain if Fournette will take part in all of the team's drills in the Jaguars' first practice of the week, the fact that he'll be on the field in any capacity suggests he's in little danger of missing the AFC championship matchup with the Patriots this weekend. It has been an eventful past few days for the rookie, who was involved in a minor car accident Tuesday after delivering three touchdowns and 119 total yards to lead the Jaguars to victory Sunday. Fournette escaped the accident without any injuries, however, so it looks like the health of his ankle will be his only concern leading up to the showdown with New England.
|P2||8/18/18||@ MIN||1:00 pm|
|P4||8/30/18||@ TB||7:30 pm|
|1||9/9/18||@ NYG||1:00 pm|
|5||10/7/18||@ KC||1:00 pm|
|6||10/14/18||@ DAL||4:25 pm|
|Bye: Week 9|
|10||11/11/18||@ IND||1:00 pm|
|12||11/25/18||@ BUF||1:00 pm|
|14||12/6/18||@ TEN||8:20 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ HOU||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|