JACKSONVILLE – This was nothing against anyone.
The Jaguars this week traded running back James Robinson to the New York Jets – and when discussing the trade publicly for the first time Wednesday, Head Coach Doug Pederson made that clear:
This wasn't a case of not liking the third-year veteran. Or of Robinson doing anything wrong.
"It's the nature of our business," Pederson said as the Jaguars (2-5) prepared to play the Denver Broncos (2-5) at Wembley Stadium in London Sunday at 9:30 a.m. "I've got a lot of respect for James and what he has done – what he has done for me and the organization.
"It's a great opportunity for him. Teams begin to search. We got a call on him and made the decision to move on."
Pederson said the Jets phoned the Jaguars Monday, with the teams' finalizing the trade Tuesday. He also said he spoke to Robinson Tuesday, adding that the Jaguars were not actively trying to trade their leading rusher from 2020 and 2021.
Second-year running back Travis Etienne Jr. started ahead of Robinson the last two weeks, rushing for 200 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries in that span. Etienne, the No. 25 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, has rushed for 415 yards and a touchdown on 68 carries this season.
"I loved playing alongside of him," Etienne said of Robinson. "At the end of the day, it's a business and it's a business decision. It hurts. We have to move forward as a team and just keep pushing, but I'm happy for him and excited for him. I feel like he's going to have a great year."
Etienne said he learned of the trade from Robinson Monday evening.
"I texted him Monday," Etienne said. "We were going to get together and go do some things [Tuesday]. That's when he told me he was going to be in the [Jaguars'] facility because he was getting traded. Obviously, the conversation shifted and there was a weird energy. I told him, 'Keep your head up. Everything happens for a reason.'
"It's not for us to understand. We're just here to do a job. They pay us to play football and that's what we're here to do."
Robinson, who rushed for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns on 485 carries in 35 games since signing with the Jaguars as a collegiate free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft, rushed for 340 yards and three touchdowns on 81 carries this season. He did not have a carry Sunday in a 23-17 loss to the New York Giants, and Pederson was asked Wednesday if he was concerned about depth at the position.
"No," he said, adding: "One thing I know that you don't know is there's a lot of information. I'm not going to divulge all the information. It's for me to know and for us to know all the details on that. This is just the way our league is right now. Teams are constantly searching."
The move leaves the Jaguars with three running backs on the 53-man roster:
- Travis Etienne
- JaMycal Hasty
- Rookie Snoop Conner.
Hasty has five carries for 69 yards with a 61-yard touchdown this season. Conner, a fifth-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, has been inactive in all seven games this season.
"It's a great opportunity for James to go in and be the guy. And for us, it's a great opportunity for not only JaMycal and now Snoop, to get him going," Pederson said. "The team that acquired James had a need, quite frankly, and we have had two good running backs. It does give JaMycal and now Snoop an opportunity to get more touches with the offense."
Etienne, after averaging 36 yards on 8.5 carries per game in Weeks 1-4, has averaged 90.3 yards on 11 carries per game in the last three games.
"You're not going to see anything different from T.J.," Pederson said. "He's going to continue to do the things he has been doing. It's just he'll have an opportunity to play a little bit longer in a game. I still want to keep him from taking all the load and keep him healthy for the entire season.
"That's why JaMycal will increase his load a little bit and now it's our job as a staff to make sure Snoop's ready to go, too."
- Wide receiver Jamal Agnew, who missed the loss to the Giants with a knee injury, was listed on the Jaguars' Wednesday injury report as practicing limited. He was the only Jaguars player on the Wednesday injury report.
- Cornerback Shaq Griffin was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a back injury after missing Sunday's game.