Jaguars' Leonard Fournette refueled after calls with Marcus Allen, father

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Jaguars' Leonard Fournette refueled after calls with Marcus Allen, father

Post by admin » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:43 am

Phone calls to a Hall of Famer and to his father have Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette approaching this week's game with a much clearer mind.

Fournette was visibly upset in the locker room after last Sunday's loss to Indianapolis because he only carried the ball eight times. The 33-13 defeat came one game after he had only 11 carries in another loss, 26-3 to the Houston Texans.

Fournette was so frustrated that he reached out to Marcus Allen and his father, Leonard Fournette Jr., to vent. Those two conversations -- in addition to talks with running backs coach Terry Robiskie and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo -- put things in perspective.

"[Allen talked about] just staying focused," Fournette said. "He went through a thing, [but] his situation was harder than mine. So, [it] kind of opened my eyes, you know? Whenever you're going through something a lot, most people have gone through it worse. So I kind of brushed it off when I heard his narrative, his story.

"Just talking to my daddy, he's always been there for me, so his words mean more than anybody else's words, to be honest. It's all about just staying level-headed, just staying focused. Just think about the big picture."

Fournette first met Allen on a recruiting trip to USC, and the two have stayed in touch. Robiskie has connections with Allen as well, having been an assistant coach in Allen's nine seasons with the Los Angeles Raiders. Allen told Fournette how his role changed when Bo Jackson arrived in 1987, and he moved to fullback, watching his workload decrease.

That, however, is different from Fournette's experience. Fournette was second in the NFL in rushing (791 yards) and was averaging 20.1 carries per game. In the next two games, however, he totaled just 19 carries and 63 yards.

That includes only 11 first-half carries in those losses to Houston and Indianapolis. Both were one-score games at the break. In the third quarter of both, the score got out of hand, but it's curious that offensive coordinator John DeFilippo would minimize the player he said in the spring would be "a major reason where our offense goes. I'm not going to sugarcoat that. Leonard Fournette needs to be a big part of this offense."

Coach Doug Marrone took the blame for Fournette's small workload against the Colts. He said that his thought, after Indianapolis went up by 10 midway through the third, was that the Jaguars needed to score quickly because they couldn't stop the Colts on the ground. Indianapolis finished with 264 rushing yards.

That still doesn't explain only five carries in the first half, but DeFilippo said the Jaguars' inability to convert on third down -- and an interception -- led to them running only 21 plays in the first half. That limited Fournette's usage, he said.

"That's on me, that's on the execution, that's on everybody. We win and lose as a team. So when you go back and look at it, we need to do a better job of staying on the field and converting third downs because when you do that, you have more plays and you can run the ball more and you can throw the ball more and you can have more offense," DeFilippo said. "I think it boils down to being better at situational football."

Fournette said his conversations with Marrone and DeFilippo this week were positive and he's optimistic about his workload against the Tennessee Titans.

"We all sat down and talked, tried to get our plan together," said Fournette, 146 yards shy of 1,000. "We're going to see coming out this Sunday."

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