Because Chris Ivory has a similar running style and T.J. Yeldon has proved he can be effective between the tackles, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said he'll call the same plays he would have called for Fournette.
"They’re all guys that have the ability to run downhill," Hackett said. "Corey [Grant] is the only one that’s just a little bit different in what he does, but he still has the capability to be able to go downhill. I think right now we want to roll and ... run the ball downhill."
Not having Fournette, who is questionable because of a right ankle injury he suffered against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, would still have a significant impact on the offense. He's the NFL's second-leading rusher (596 yards) and accounts for 36.4 percent of the Jaguars' total yardage. Fournette has carried the ball 130 times. Ivory has only run it 40 times and Grant has just nine carries.
Ivory is a proven back who rushed for 1,070 yards in 2015 and 4,632 yards and 27 touchdowns in eight seasons. He's similar in size (6-foot, 223 pounds) to Fournette (6-1, 228) and is the same kind of physical runner. He was a disappointment last season after signing a five-year, $32 million contract with $10 million guaranteed as a free agent. Injuries limited him to 11 games and he averaged a career-low 3.8 yards per carry.
He's been healthy in 2017 and effective in relief of Fournette. He's also the team's third-leading receiver (16 catches, one more than Fournette) and had a 22-yard screen pass for a touchdown against the Rams.
Even if Fournette is active against the Colts, it's likely that Yeldon would be, too, for the first time this season. He missed the opener with a hamstring injury but was a healthy scratch for the next five games. He ran for 740 yards as a rookie but his production dipped to 465 yards (3.6 per carry) last season and he's been caught in a numbers game each week. The Jaguars have kept three backs (Fournette, Ivory and Grant) plus fullback Tommy Bohanon active each week.
Grant, who also is the Jaguars' kickoff returner, likely will be more involved offensively. He started the 2016 season finale against Indianapolis and ran for 122 yards on 18 carries, including a 57-yard touchdown run.
The best approach on Sunday might be to make Fournette inactive and rely on Ivory, Yeldon and Grant. Jaguars have a bye the following week and that would give Fournette three weeks to recover and be completely healthy for the Nov. 5 home game against Cincinnati.