JACKSONVILLE – Leonard Fournette said he would have trusted the Jaguars’ front office whatever its offseason approach.
But considering the team’s biggest offseason move thus far was adding a very big offensive lineman – All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell – and considering that such an acquisition could only be a good thing for a young running back …
Well, considering that, Fournette liked the Jaguars’ 2018 free-agency strategy.
In fact, he and Cam Robinson both said they liked it quite a bit.
“They [the Jaguars] have the confidence in our running game – and also our culture,” Fournette said Wednesday at EverBank Field. “That’s a big thing, and I love it.
“I love what’s going on, and everything around it.”
Fournette, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and Robinson – a left tackle selected in the second round of ’17 – both spoke briefly to jaguars.com Wednesday. The primary subject: Last week’s acquisition of Norwell.
“They obviously wanted to make the offensive line a priority, and that’s always a good thing from our standpoint and our view,” Robinson said. “Obviously, he’s a great player and a big, strong guy. I think he’s going to help our offensive line and help us build on what we started to create last year.”
An Associated Press first-team All-Pro selection with the Carolina Panthers last season, Norwell signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent – a bold move by the team to improve an offensive line that helped the Jaguars lead the NFL in rushing last season.
“That gives you a lot of leeway, and it puts you in the perspective they’re going to block their tails off for you,” Fournette said. “At the end of the day, it’s a team thing. Whatever will help the team out and put us in a better position to have a successful season, I’m all for it.”
Fournette rushed for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie last season, with the Jaguars rushing for a league-high 139.5 yards per game as a team. The Jaguars rushed for nearly 50 fewer yards per game in the second half of the season than the first, and the addition of Norwell should help the offensive line’s push on the interior.
“It speaks toward the mentality and the identity we’re trying to create and working to create,” Robinson said. “Adding a great player like Drew adds to what we’re trying to get done and what we’re aiming to do. We’re looking forward to getting after it.”
While Fournette has worked mostly away from EverBank Field early this offseason, Robinson has spent much of the offseason training at the Jaguars’ facility. The team’s voluntary offseason program opens in mid-April. Both players on Wednesday said the offseason motivation is clear: to build on last season’s AFC Championship Game appearance, and improve upon a season in which the team took significant strides.
“That’s our mindset, and that was the mindset at the end of last year,” Robinson said “We set a standard and we know what the standard is. We know what we’re trying to get accomplished. It starts now early.”
Said Fournette, “Right now, everyone’s working their tails off. Everybody’s training and doing what they have to do to get better and also to help the team. I believe we’ll have the same chemistry as last year. It’s a new year. We have to make sure everybody’s all in with a totally different mindset and try to win.”