By: Hays Carlyon
Leonard Fournette shouldn’t touch the ball again this season for the Jaguars.
He looks shell shocked.
When Fournette touches the ball, he consistently is met in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage by defenders. I think it’s rattled him.
He has no connection with play-caller Scott Milanovich, he has no chemistry with this atrocious injury-riddled offensive line and there’s no threat of a passing game to take the defensive eyes off him.
Fournette is starting to form habits of being indecisive as a runner.
Why allow those habits to further get ingrained in him in the final two games?
Fournette reminds me of Houston quarterback David Carr, the first-overall pick in 2002. Carr was sacked 76 times as a rookie and became a shell-shocked player. He never recovered.
A running back or quarterback have to hold the belief that the line is going to do its job. Clearly, Fournette has lost that belief as right guard A.J. Cann was the only regular starter playing in Sunday’s 16-13 loss to Washington.
Jaguars personnel chief Tom Coughlin and coach Doug Marrone should send Fournette to injured reserve with the foot injury suffered Sunday and move on to 2019.
Once left tackle Cam Robinson, left guard Andrew Norwell and center Brandon Linder are back, along with a new right side of the line, then Fournette’s career should continue.
Whether Fournette is part of the long-term plan here or destined for the trading block, there’s no benefit in playing him in the final two meaningless games. The Jaguars would be better off losing out anyway to finish at 4-12 and protect their top-five draft pick.
Why risk him getting a significant injury now?
I expect Fournette to return for his third season. The Jaguars brass would be wise to throw in the towel on this season for Fournette. Sometimes a season goes bad. Don’t make it worse.
Let Fournette get healthy, think about the strides he needs to make as a pro and protect him from damaging his psyche further.
(You can email Hays at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)