Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence considers running back James Robinson to be a vital weapon in their offense.
That’s why Lawrence wants to see him on the field and not standing on the sideline.
Lawrence acknowledged Wednesday that he made it clear to the coaching staff of Robinson’s importance this week.
After losing a fumble in the first quarter during Sunday’s 37-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Robinson was held out for 20 plays.
”He’s got to be on the field,” Lawrence said. ”I voiced my opinion that James is one of our best players, and he’s got to be in the game. I think we’re all on the same page.”
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Robinson was held out for 18 plays after fumbling on the team’s third series in the second quarter during the Jaguars’ 21-14 loss to Atlanta Falcons at TIAA Bank Field Nov. 28.
During his weekly appearance on Action News Sports’ ”Jags Report Live Monday night,” Robinson said “he would say so” when asked if he believed he got benched against the Rams.
“Obviously, like I said last week, I mean, that (fumbles) can’t happen. When it happens, and you’re out for that long, you gotta feel that way,” Robinson said. ”I was just waiting my chance to get back in the game, didn’t really come until the third quarter.”
Robinson, who has been slowed by a heel/knee injury, is the Jaguars’ leading rusher with 678 yards and seven touchdowns.
However, in the past two games, Robinson has been limited to just 25 carries, including having only eight against the Rams.
Meyer has gone from saying after Sunday’s game that Robinson is still not 100 percent healthy to saying he should be more aware of the rotations involving the running backs and receivers.
Meyer said met with Robinson on Monday and showed him a 15-play highlight from his performance against the Tennessee Titans when he rushed for a season-high 149 yards on 18 carries during their 37-19 loss during Week 5 in October.
”If you want to go watch the Tennessee game, it’s as good as I’ve seen,” Meyer said. ”It’s pad-level, we always call this clamp it, coming over the ball. We don’t do that anymore, so that stopped. I don’t worry about that other stuff. I go right to the film and here’s how to become one of the top five backs in the league and let’s get back to that.”
On Robinson’s fumble Sunday, the three-time NFL’s defensive player of the year Aaron Donald spun him around before ripping the ball out that was recovered by former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Meanwhile, backup running back Carlos Hyde lost a fumble in the third quarter but returned on the Jaguars’ next series.
Meyer said he couldn’t recall the exact time Robinson re-entered the game, but they have to communicate that better on the sideline.
But after the game Sunday when Meyer asked why Robinson sat out nearly all of the first half, he didn’t have an answer or explanation why he played during the final two minutes of the game if his injury situation was a concern.
”You’d have to ask [running backs] coach [Bernie] Parmalee,” Meyer said. ”I don’t get too involved. I don’t micromanage that. I know he’s been dinged up, so I don’t know if he’s back (in) the tent or what’s going on, but I know there’s injury involved.”
However, on Wednesday, Meyer reiterated the importance of taking care of the football, saying it’s a premium.
”You bench yourself. If you lay the ball on the ground, you come out for a few plays and then it’s up to the position coach, whoever to put you back in whenever that’s time. That’s not James [Robinson], that’s whoever,” Meyer said. ”When the ball goes on the ground, you come back.”
Meyer said he almost took wide receiver Laquon Treadwell out of Sunday’s game because he held the ball too loosely when he was fighting for extra yardage after his 28-yard catch.
With five games left in the season, the Jaguars offense has not showed much firepower. it is averaging just 15 points a game and Lawrence has not thrown a touchdown pass in four of the past five games.
The Jaguars were held to just 197 yards total yards against the Rams, their second-lowest output since a 187-yard effort against the Denver Broncos in Week 2.
”I really just want to go play free, go be me and make plays, just having a great week of practice, trusting the game plan, and then when game day comes, letting it rip,” Lawrence said regarding his emphasis for the final five games. ”As this season’s gone on, obviously, there’s been, like we’ve said, ups and downs and a lot of stuff going on and that’s the one thing I need to be consistent on is just go out there and play and just be myself. That’s something I want to do a better job of, don’t play in a box, just go play free.”
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