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Wednesday update: Etienne adding "a boost…"

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Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Los Angeles Chargers September 25th, 2022

JACKSONVILLE – He's close and getting closer.

And to Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr., that's a good thing early in his NFL career.

"I feel like that's what it's all about – steady improvement," he said.

Etienne, a second-year veteran who missed his 2021 rookie season with a Lisfranc injury, indeed has shown that in the first five games of the 2022 season – and he had the best of those five games in a 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans this past Sunday.

"He's understanding his role," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday as the Jaguars (2-3) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (2-2-1) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., Sunday at 1 p.m. "He's understanding his responsibility within the offense, and he understands the offense and where we're trying to use him within the framework or the formation of a play.

"He's done a nice job with that. He has handled it well. When he has had an opportunity, he has impressed. We have to keep him going."

Etienne has rushed for 215 yards on 44 carries this season and rushed for 71 yards on 10 carries against the Texans. He also against the Texans showed the burst and big-play ability that made him the No. 25 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft – a 30-yard first-quarter run, a 20-yard first-quarter reception and an 18-yard run also in the first quarter.

"It's a boost," Pederson said. "It helped us Sunday as we moved the football early in the game. He got some big runs. That's a spark sometimes you need. He has been able to do that for us."

Etienne said he feels he can provide that element "every time I touch the ball."

"I have that home-run ability," he said. "I feel like I'm always one step away. Football is a game of inches. It takes all 11 working together. We are one step away, but that's just growth. That's just getting in there with the offensive line, watching film and us just continuing to feel each other out and getting to know each other better."

Etienne, who has 11 receptions for 124 yards this season, had three receptions for a season-high 43 yards Sunday.

"The more reps I get, the more comfortable I get," he said. "I'm just finding a way to make plays, week in and week out. It's about being consistent. It's Year 2, but this is my first time on the field. I want to continue to trust in the process and trust the work I put in."

NOTABLE I

  • The Jaguars' pass rush figures to be a key storyline Sunday, with Colts quarterback Matt Ryan having been sacked an NFL-high 21 times through five games. The Jaguars rank 18th in the NFL with 10 sacks this season, with five coming in a Week 2 victory over the Colts. They have had at least one sack in every game this season, registering one against the Texans. "It can improve," Pederson said. "It can get a little bit better. We pride ourselves on getting after the quarterback. There were flashes of it where we disrupted [Texans quarterback] Davis [Mills] a little bit. We could have done better there."

QUOTABLE

  • Pederson: "You do whatever it takes to win the game, whether it's throwing it or running it. We saw in the two wins there was a nice balance there, which is typically the case for most teams. You're looking for that one spark. It might be TJ (Etienne) rattling off a 30-yard run, or we get an explosive pass to [tight end] Evan [Engram] down the middle. You never know what it's going to be. You still stick to the game plan as much as you can and what you've practiced during the week and somehow, somewhere somebody needs to make a play and get things going."

NOTABLE II

  • Jaguars defensive end Foley Fatukasi was listed on the Wednesday injury report as practicing limited with a quad injury that kept him out against the Texans Sunday. The Jaguars listed three other players as practicing limited Wednesday:
  • Linebacker Foye Oluokun (calf)
  • Wide receiver Zay Jones (ankle)
  • Defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton (foot)

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