JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Though running back T.J. Yeldon has been a healthy inactive the last two weeks, Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said the team has not moved on from the 2015 second-round pick.
Yeldon has just been caught up in a numbers crunch on game day. Marrone said needs at other positions have kept the Jaguars from having Yeldon as one of the 46 active players.
“We love T.J.,” Marrone said. “We think he’s an outstanding football player. Right now we feel that the guys there [at running back] are doing well and what’s difficult is if we did have more spots on game day, we would put him up there. There’s no doubt about that.
“But it’s very difficult with what we’re trying to accomplish from the standpoint of all three phases to get a jersey on him right now. But the minute that we do have an opportunity where it’s not going to affect any of those three phases or maybe we need it more offensively -- might be a game-plan situation where we want more backs up that week -- we have no issue at all bringing him up.”
Yeldon missed the season opener because of a hamstring injury but was one of seven inactive players against Tennessee and Baltimore. The Jaguars had four running backs active each week: Leonard Fournette, Chris Ivory, Corey Grant and fullback Tommy Bohanon. Ivory has solidly filled the third-down role most envisioned for Yeldon because of his blocking ability.
The Jaguars opted to keep nine defensive backs active against the Ravens, so there’s a spot that could go to Yeldon if the Jaguars do opt to make him active in the future.
The Jaguars added high-profile running backs each season since they drafted Yeldon – including selecting Fournette fourth overall this year – and Yeldon’s role was going to be significantly different this season anyway. He is the best pass blocker among the backs, but that hasn’t been enough to get him on the field.
Yeldon ran for 740 yards on 180 carries (4.1 yards per carry) and caught 36 passes for 279 yards as a rookie, but he had only three touchdowns. He missed four games because of a groin injury and sprained MCL in his right knee.
Yeldon’s rushing total was the third-highest by a rookie in franchise history and his rushing attempts were the second-most behind Fred Taylor’s 264 in 1998.
Now he’s having a hard time getting on the field.