JACKSONVILLE – J-Rob is ready.
That's good news for the Jaguars, though James Robinson doesn't really consider it news.
"I feel pretty good," Robinson said Wednesday as the Jaguars prepared to play the Washington Commanders in the 2022 regular-season opener at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., Sunday at 1 p.m. "I feel like I've been ready since the last couple of weeks of training camp, but like I said: 'I'm ready."
Robinson, the Jaguars' leading rusher the past two seasons, missed the 2022 preseason while returning from a torn Achilles sustained late last December. He returned to practice in mid-August and was not listed on the team's first injury report of the season Wednesday.
"I think he's there," Head Coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday. "I think he's back. He has practiced these last few weeks. He has looked pretty good. I'm excited to watch him play."
Robinson, the Jaguars' starting running back in 27 of a 33 possible games the past two seasons, rushed for 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie in 2020 before rushing for 767 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021. He has a 4.5 yards per carry career average and missed the final two games of last season after sustaining his Achilles injury December 26.
"We have to get into the football game," Pederson said when asked how many carries Robinson could handle Sunday. "I've been in situations like this where you want to go in and control the pace of play with a guy like James, but if he's feeling good and there hasn't been any setbacks or anything, then you just go. You just roll with it.
"You have 48 guys on game day and you have to use them all."
Robinson on Wednesday was asked about limitations on his carries Sunday.
"If I had limitations, I wouldn't be out there," he said. "I feel good. I'll go out there to be me again."
He also discounted the idea that he might need the initial contact of a real-game tackle to feel as if is past the injury that ended his season nine months ago.
"If I want that, I just go dive on the ground," he said, laughing. "I try not to get tackled, but it will happen. I'll just get back up and go onto the next play."
Pederson Wednesday confirmed that Jawaan Taylor will start Sunday ahead of Walker Little at right tackle, with the two having competed there throughout 2022 Training Camp and preseason. Taylor, a second-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, started 49 of a possible 49 games at right tackle the past three seasons. "It was a great competition throughout camp," Pederson said. "I thought both guys did an outstanding job. Walker did an outstanding job when he was in there and Jawaan was in there before, and it was really his job to lose – so to speak. He showed us some great things and was deserving of the spot."
Veteran defensive lineman Foley Fatukasi (calf) was listed as limited on the Wednesday injury report. Fatukasi is listed as a defensive end on the Jaguars' official depth chart but can also play nose tackle. Third-year veteran DaVon Hamilton is the lone nose tackle listed on the depth chart. "We're comfortable with the guys we have and the different rotations [defensive coordinator] Mike [Caldwell] and Buck (defensive line coach Brentson Buckner) can present," Pederson said. "We're comfortable there."
Pederson: "This is a close group. That's rare, especially with a new staff. With a new coach, sometimes it takes a little more time than expected. This group came together rather quickly. There is great leadership on this team within the locker room. That's what players lean on. That's what I lean on in these times. That, to me, has been what has brought this team through training camp and here we are into the regular season. They're healthy, excited and looking forward to the opportunity."
Pederson: "Opening day is opening day. It's a lot of fun. You're playing a one o'clock game. It's sunny out as opposed to a preseason night game. The emotions are going to run high, obviously. There are going to be butterflies and jitters to start the game. That's just natural. It shows you football is here, football's back and we're ready for another season."