JACKSONVILLE – Terry Robiskie stated the obvious Tuesday.
Speaking a day after the high-profile – and highly surprising – waiving of running back Leonard Fournette, the Jaguars' running back coach assessed the current state of the position.
"It's a bunch of big-eyed guys who are rarin' to go," he said.
They'll get their chance soon – a bigger, different one than many observers expected. Whereas Fournette – the No. 4 selection in the 2017 NFL Draft – got most of the carries in three seasons with the Jaguars, Head Coach Doug Marrone on Monday said repetitions now will depend on situations and matchups.
"We have to go back to work," veteran Chris Thompson said. "We have a job to do and we have to do our jobs to the best of our ability."
The Jaguars' running back group now has just one player with extensive experience, Thompson, who has rushed for 1,194 rushing yards and five touchdowns in seven NFL seasons. The rest – second-year veterans Devine Ozigbo and Ryquell Armstead and rookie free agents Nathan Cottrell and James Robinson – have combined for 135 NFL rushing yards and no touchdowns.
"They are guys who in my opinion can do a little bit of everything," Thompson said. "They're good pass catchers. They can run routes pretty good. And their vision is amazing. Those guys have a lot of potential. We're going to see here moving forward."
Thompson specifically praised Robinson, a consensus first-team FCS All-American last season at Illinois State and a player many analysts projected as a mid-to-late-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.
"He probably has the best vision out of all us," Thompson said. "It's been great to see a young guy like that come in and be able to make the plays and hit the holes he has been able to hit."
Thompson, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent from The Washington Football Team in March, called Fournette's release "a shocker for everybody."
"He came in the room a couple of minutes before our [Monday] team meeting and let us know he had been released," Thompson said. "We didn't believe it. We thought he was joking because he laughs and jokes all the time. It wasn't until Coach Marrone said it in a team meeting that we really believed it.
"It's the NFL and we just have to ride with the decisions that are being made."
Robiskie, who called Thompson's veteran presence a blessing and said "I'm happy as hell he's here," also said waiving Fournette had nothing to do with not seeing something from Fournette and "everything to do with seeing from the other guys."
"It looks like a young room," Robiskie said. "It looks energetic. It looks like a bunch of fresh guys. They wanted an opportunity and I think they feel the opportunity is there. It's a group of guys ready to go mee the challenge, go prove themselves.
"Everybody in life wants an opportunity. I've got a group of guys that has a shot. They've got an opportunity right before them."
Also around the Jaguars Tuesday:
*Robiskie reiterated what Marrone said Monday – that the Jaguars must score more rushing touchdowns than the three they scored rushing last season. That was the fewest rushing touchdowns by an NFL team since 2005. "I'm working to get that accomplished; I'm a part of that," Robiskie said. "I'm as disappointed if not more disappointed than the head coach. We've got to continue to put ourselves in a position to have more opportunities to get it done – and when we get in that position, when we get down there, we've got to have the mindset that we're going to pound it. We're going to get in. We're going to do whatever the hell it takes to run it in. We can't sit down and say, 'They're in this front or that front; they've got an eight-man box.' We have to make up our minds. Whatever the hell it takes to get it in, we've got to get it done. …"
*Nine players missed practice as the team moves toward Saturday's 4 p.m. cutdown to 53 players: Linebacker Dakota Allen (hip), Armstead (illness, not COVID-19-related), defensive tackle Taven Bryan (knee), center Brandon Linder (shoulder), defensive lineman Josh Mauro (hamstring), tight end James O'Shaughnessy (knee/scheduled day off), wide receiver Michael Walker (knee), wide receiver Dede Westbrook (shoulder) and linebacker Quincy Williams (core). …