Jaguars drafted Leonard Fournette to control postseason games

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars' first playoff game in nearly a decade is likely to turn into the Leonard Fournette show.

Tom Coughlin, Doug Marrone and Dave Caldwell constructed the 2017 Jaguars to have an offense built around the run game. They wanted to punish defenses, control the clock and have success with play-action passes.

That worked pretty well in the regular season, so they won't deviate from it in Sunday's wild-card game against Buffalo. So in a way, the Jaguars drafted Fournette fourth overall last April with the postseason in mind.

The rookie running back is more than ready.

"He's one of those guys, he wants it," offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. "He's a competitive guy. He wants the ball and it's exciting.

"I think that's one of the things that I'm looking forward to in this game."

With 1,040 rushing yards, Fournette became the second rookie in franchise history to top 1,000 (Fred Taylor had 1,223 in 1998) despite missing three games because of injury/disciplinary reasons. He surpassed 100 yards five times, including a career-high 181 against Pittsburgh.

Fournette battled an ankle injury in the middle of the season and missed the Dec. 17 game against Houston with a quad injury. He had 117 yards on 37 carries (3.2 yards per carry) combined in the past two games, but Marrone said Fournette looked as fresh as he has all season this week.

"I felt good after last week watching him run," Marrone said. "You could watch him where he is, and I felt good where he was. First play, he cuts back to the B gap, makes a good gain, runs hard. Catches a pass, runs down the sideline, stays in bounds, lowers his shoulder. I think he's back, and he should be fine.

"... When you're out for a bit, whether you're injured or now, especially early in your career, you don't come back and start where you left off. I don't believe that in anything in this profession. For him, he comes back, you start getting in a groove and you go."

The Jaguars (10-6) want him to go against the Bills (9-7), who finished the regular season with the 29th-ranked rush defense (124.6 yards per game). Fournette said he's ready for 25-30 carries if needed.

When asked what he's most looking forward to in his first playoff game, Fournette fast-forwarded things about a month.

"[What I'm] most looking for is going to the Super Bowl," he said. "Just take it one game at a time. Each week [we] have to refocus ourselves and never forget why we're here and why we worked so hard to get here, and what's the main goal."