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Thursday update: Fournette says running game "will come full circle"

JACKSONVILLE – Leonard Fournette remains confident.

The Jaguars' third-year running back was asked Thursday asked about rhythm, cohesion and continuity – and how the lack of those things is affecting the team's run offense.

"It's not really there enough right now; you've got have that, especially with a running game," Fournette said as the Jaguars (1-2) prepared to play the Denver Broncos (0-3) at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado, Sunday at 4:25 p.m.

He said one reason for the early struggles of the run offense is simple: The injuries that kept linemen such as guard Andrew Norwell and tackles Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor out of multiple preseason and/or early regular-season games.

"Not playing a lot of preseason games, that kind of messed up a lot of communication," he said. "You have to have timing with the run game. We're slowly getting back there."

We'll cover other topics such as injuries and defensive coordinator Todd Wash's thoughts on multiple defensive issues, but Fournette's thoughts on the running game lead this Thursday Jaguars update roundup because of the area's importance moving forward.

Head Coach Doug Marrone has emphasized the issue this week, and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo on Thursday addressed an area that has been inconsistent in three games.

"We evaluated everything," DeFilippo said. "If you're not having the amount of success you want in a certain area, be honest with yourself If you don't look in the mirror and be honest with yourself, you have a hard time getting better.

"Those are some tough conversations you have to have. This is a big-boy league, and you have to have big-boy conversation sometimes. We were honest with ourselves this week."

DeFilippo said that meant evaluating mid-week game plan installation, in-game play-calling and execution. The Jaguars rushed for 88 yards on 20 carries in a 20-7 victory over Tennessee last Thursday, with Fournette rushing for minus-three yards on 14 carries before a late 69-yard run.

Marrone early this week said it appeared Fournette was frustrated at times.

"I am," Fournette said. "You've seen it; there ain't no doubt about that. It's very frustrating. You want to help the team as much as you can. I'm a running back first. I don't mind pass-blocking and those things, but I'm a running back first, so it's very frustrating. …

"It's going to come together. I don't know when. I can't give you an exact time it will come together, but it will come full circle."

Also around the Jaguars Thursday:

*Fournette when speaking to the media Friday made a point to praise rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II, who has started the last two games in place of Nick Foles (broken clavicle). "Our quarterback's doing a great job," Fournette said. "I never told him that, but I'm telling him right now: He's doing a hell of a job. We're going to continue pass-blocking for him, giving him enough time to throw the ball and make those reads that he's doing."

*Cornerback Jalen Ramsey missed practice to be in Nashville, Tennessee, for the birth of his second daughter and also was listed on the injury report with a back injury. Wide receiver Marqise Lee (knee) had a scheduled day off, with linebacker Lerentee McCray, linebacker D.J. Alexander and tight end Josh Oliver missing practice with hamstring injuries; McCray and Oliver worked limited Wednesday. Middle linebacker Myles Jack (concussion protocol) worked full for a second consecutive day, with wide receiver Chris Conley (knee) and linebacker Quincy Williams (illness) working limited for a second consecutive day. …

*Williams, a rookie selected in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, has impressed coaches since his arrival in Jacksonville – and that has continued this week. Wash on Thursday said Williams has been impressive adjusting to a "stacked" linebacker role he never played at Murray State. "He's a football junkie," Wash said. "Yesterday he was sick, he stayed in the training room as long as he needed to be, did what he needed to do so he could make meetings after practice, so it's a lot of credit to the kid how he studies and understands what we're asking of him." …

*Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell registered three sacks against Tennessee, and Wash said Campbell's experience and importance to the defense makes keeping him healthy and fresh a weekly priority. "Him and I talk quite a bit," Wash said of the 12th-year veteran who has been named to the Pro Bowl the past two seasons. "Whatever we have to do during the week to get him to play on Sundays. That's one of the things that Rebs (defensive line coach Jason Rebrovich) and I talk about quite a bit, is how are we going to get some of our older players to the game healthy and rested? And I think so far the plan has worked out really well. Calais has got a lot of football in him if we manage him right. And if we don't, then that's our fault. But if we manage him, he still can make a lot of plays like he did last week." …

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