JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The decision to trade James Robinson was made quickly, was the best for all sides and does not leave the Jaguars hanging in the running back position, Doug Pederson said Wednesday.
That’s the nature of the NFL, and Pederson is comfortable with where the Jaguars are now at the running back position. Travis Etienne has become the team’s No. 1, and there’s confidence JaMychal Hasty and Snoop Conner can advance the ground game with a trip to London to face the Broncos on deck at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. This game will be televised live on WJXT Channel 4.
“I won’t go into all the details, but I have a lot of respect for James and what he’s done and what he’s done for me and the organization,” Pederson said. “I wish him all the best. It’s an opportunity for him. Obviously, the Jets lost a running back, and quite frankly, that’s the nature of our business. The teams are beginning the search and we got a call from him and made the decision to move on.”
While the third-year player transitions from the 2-5 Jaguars to the 5-2 and suddenly faces Jets, the decision to treat Robinson was somewhat disjointed.
Robinson had no offensive touches in Sunday’s loss to the Giants. Pederson said after the game and again on Monday that Robinson was struggling with some knee problems. He reiterated that Robinson was part of Jacksonville’s offensive plans. Hours later, the Jaguars dealt Robinson to the Jets for a conditional sixth-round draft pick that could turn into a fifth-rounder.
Some of the arguments make sense. An undrafted free agent in the final year of his contract, Robinson would never replace an Etienne-type player. Etienne has been given a bigger role through the game and has dealt with it by showing off his skills.
Etienne, last year’s first-round pick, missed his rookie season with a Lisfranc injury and was an unknown for the 2022 season. But he has emerged as Jacksonville’s biggest threat from the backfield, scoring his first NFL touchdown in the loss to the Giants. Etienne also rushed for 114 yards in the game, a career high. He has 415 rushing yards and a touchdown on 68 carries and is also a threat in the receiving game (11 catches, 128 yards).
Robinson was a fan favorite and one of the best undrafted free agent signings in team history. Robinson rushed for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns with the Jaguars, the majority of which (1,070 yards, 7 TDs) came in his rookie season. Robinson tore his Achilles tendon during a game against the Jets last season but returned for Week 1 and returned to the field this year. Pederson said the Jaguars were not actively buying Robinson.
“No. One thing I know you don’t know is that there is a lot of information. I’m not going to give all the information; it’s for me to know and for us to know and all the details about it. I went through that in 2016. We traded Sam Bradford, our starting quarterback, in Minnesota Week 1 of the regular season and went with the rookie quarterback in Carson (Wentz) I’ve been through that before, this is how our league looks right now. Teams are always looking.”
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