Jaguars should think more about cutting bait with Fournette, not coddling him

The Jacksonville Jaguars apparently don’t believe in the saying that if somebody tells you who they are, believe them.

The Jaguars apparently don’t believe that Leonard Fournette is the player who had all sorts of problems in his first two years.

They are apparently convinced they can turn Fournette’s career around when their main focus instead should be finding a new running back to carry the offense while viewing anything they get from Fournette as a bonus.

Tom Coughlin and the team’s top brass had a meeting with Fournette at the end of the year, according to a report by the NFL Network’s Ian Rappoport, to apparently clear the air and move forward.

The Jaguars also appear ready to hire veteran assistant coach Terry Robiskie, who like Fournette is from Lousiana and played at LSU, as their running backs coach to try to connect with him. Still, Robiskie has spent most  of his career as a wide receivers coach instead of a running backs coach. Connecting with Fournette will be no easy task.

Trying to salvage his career is a good goal, but if they are counting on Fournette to carry the rushing attack without bringing in another good running back, that will likely be a mistake.

They simply can’t count on him. He has shown to be injury prone and doesn’t seem to know how to act like a professional. He has been suspended for a game in each of his first two years. There is also the question of how good he is. Fournette doesn’t appear to be a Todd GurleyEzekiel Elliott or Saquon Barkley. Last year, he had just two runs of more than 20 yards.

One of Jacksonville’s top priorities in the offseason has to be to find a running back who can carry the team.

Last year they went into the season with just three running backs on the roster and had to make the desperation move of trading for Carlos Hyde when Fournette was injured.

Then there’s the issue of the $7.1 million in guarantees that coach Doug Marrone said they voided after Fournette was suspended for a game for running across the field from the sidelines to start throwing punches in a brawl.

It would be a mistake to rescind that voiding because it would send the wrong message that he is not accountable.

Also, Coughlin should let Marrone work things out with Fournette.

Coughlin first got involved when he issued a statement criticizing Fournette and T.J. Yeldon for sitting on the sidelines in the season finale and looking disinterested.

That should be the coach’s job, not the GM’s.

Same with Coughlin and the top brass, according to Rappoport, meeting with Fournette to clear the air. That again should be the coach’s job.

But the main thing is that the Jaguars can’t be fooled into thinking Fournette can carry the team. Maybe he can turn things around, but the Jaguars need another option if he has a third season similar to the first two.

He has to earn their trust with a good, injury-free season before they bet on him.

There’s that saying about fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

No matter how much air is cleared, the Jaguars can’t be fooled again.

Talk is cheap. They need Fournette to show on and off the field he is worthy of their trust again.


One thought on “Jaguars should think more about cutting bait with Fournette, not coddling him”

  1. Great read, Vito! I agree that Doug Marrone must be the one who works with Leonard Fournette to “clear the air.” I believe Marrone was handcuffed by Tom Coughlin throughout this dismal season. The whole Coach Coughlin thing must end. He’s not a coach anymore. Coughlin is the brains in the front office. That’s what Shad Khan hired him for. It is too early to give up on any first-round draft pick. Fournette deserves a chance to correct last season’s performance and to be ready for OTAs and training camp in tip-top shape. That will speak more to his commitment than any words can. We indeed need to secure another strong option at running back. All teams should have a solid one and two guy ready to carry the rock. That was a major blunder by the front office in 2018. We cannot afford to suffer that same fate again heading into the 2019 season.

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