Today's Pigskin

August 20, 2016: Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory (33) during the preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)
Jacksonville Jaguars

Only Chris Ivory can fix Jacksonville’s run problems

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)

Through the first two games of the season, the Jacksonville Jaguars have had one of the worst rushing offenses in the NFL. Jacksonville has totaled just 117 rushing yards in two games, averaging a mere 3.2 yards per carry — only scoring one touchdown on the ground so far this year.

Most of Jacksonville’s issues have been because of a lack of depth at the running back position thanks to an unforeseen injury to Chris Ivory.

Ivory has missed the first two games of the season after making an emergency trip to the hospital a couple of weeks ago and has just returned to practice this week. His status is still up in the air, but the Jaguars desperately need him in order for their rushing attack to become viable again.

Second-year running back T.J. Yeldon has had to function as the main back for Jacksonville through two weeks, and he’s had major issues attempting to do so despite looking solid as a rookie last year in a similar role. In his two games this season, Yeldon has run for 39 yards and 28 yards in each contest. His 39 yards against Green Bay came on 21 carries, while he picked up his 28 yards against San Diego on seven carries.

Overall, Yeldon has just a 2.4 yard per carry average through two games. And he hasn’t gotten much help either.

Backup running back Denard Robinson has totaled four carries for 14 yards in two games. Quarterback Blake Bortles has carried the ball five times for 36 yards, and he’s the only runner to have eclipsed 20 yards on a single run.

And that’s it.

Yeldon operated as the primary back last year for the Jaguars, carrying the ball 182 of the 354 times Jacksonville ran the ball in 2015. Yeldon gained 740 yards and scored twice as a rookie last year, and he was effective in the pass game as well, catching 36 passes for 279 yards and a score.

So far this season, however, Yeldon has floundered in the lead back role. Not only has he been unable to put up respectable numbers on the ground, but he’s been ineffective as a pass catcher. He has hauled in 12 receptions, which is the most by any player on Jacksonville’s roster. But he’s only been able to gain 40 yards on those 12 receptions, giving him a paltry 3.3 yard per catch average.

September 11, 2016:  Jacksonville Jaguars Running Back T.J. Yeldon (24) [21026] dives for yards during the NFL game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Green Bay Packers at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)

In two games, Yeldon is averaging a horrid 2.7 yards per touch. He and the rest of Jacksonville’s run game desperately needs a boost. And Ivory is their one and only hope at this point.

The Jaguars brought in Ivory on a five-year $32 million contract to complement Yeldon and help Jacksonville’s run game flourish. But the 7th-year veteran hasn’t been able to do anything with the Jaguars just yet, and the imbalance on offense is one reason why Jacksonville has stumbled out of the gates to an 0-2 start.

Ivory ran for 2,724 yards in his three years with the New York Jets and scored 16 rushing touchdowns in those three seasons. He also brought in 48 receptions for 340 yards and two scores as a pass catcher for the Jets in his last two years there.

Because of Ivory’s absence, Jacksonville’s offense has been completely off balance and out of whack.

The Jaguars have attempted 89 passes compared to running the ball a mere 37 times in two games. Part of that had to do with Jacksonville playing from behind against San Diego last week, but with how ineffective the run has been anyway, Jacksonville has needed to pass the ball more in order to even put points on the board.

Jacksonville is in a dangerous spot sitting at 0-2 and facing the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3. It’s unknown at this point when Ivory will be able to make his debut as a Jaguar, but the sooner the better.

He’s Jacksonville’s only hope to resuscitate the run game at this point.

Only Chris Ivory can fix Jacksonville’s run problems

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