The Jacksonville Jaguars may or may not have their top offensive playmaker against the Colts in Week 10, with Friday’s practice serving as a key day for James Robinson.
The Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) still have the status of their top offensive playmaker up in the air for Sunday's AFC South tilt against the Indianapolis Colts (4-5), with head coach Urban Meyer listing running back James Robinson as questionable on Friday due to a heel injury he sustained in Week 8.
“Questionable, today is an important day," Meyer said before Friday's practice when asked about Robinson's status.
Robinson was a limited participant in practice on Thursday after missing Wednesday's practice and missing two practices last week (Wednesday and Thursday). Robinson was limited in practice last Friday and tested his heel on Sunday morning ahead of the Jaguars' eventual 9-6 upset over the Buffalo Bills, but the running back was ruled out ahead of the contest.
Now, Meyer is hoping for a different outcome for his leading rusher — an outcome that doesn't require going down to the wire to determine if he will be able to play.
“I hope not, I hope today is a good day or tomorrow," Meyer said.
“Yeah, he had 12 plays I think," Meyer continued when asked if Robinson looked good during Thursday's practice.
Robinson has rushed 88 times for 482 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and five touchdowns in eight games. Robinson has also caught 18 passes for 133 yards (7.4 yards per catch), becoming the most valuable weapon in Jacksonville's offense for the second year in a row.
Robinson injured his heel late in the first quarter of Jacksonville's 31-7 Week 8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. On his eighth snap of the game, Robinson caught a 17-yard pass but injured his heel following the gain, resulting in a heel bruise that kept the 1,000-yard rusher off the field last Sunday.
Meyer has seemed optimistic at times this week and even immediately following Sunday's win that the Jaguars would have Robinson against the Colts. It appears to be very much up in the air, but Meyer said just on Monday that he expected Robinson to be ready to play.
"He should be ready, obviously we are going to be very smart with him. I know he is only a second-year player, but he is a tough grinder. I would have played him if he would have been able to go," Meyer said about Robinson on Monday. "You know we do not have a rule about you having to practice a certain [amount] – it depends who it is. I expect him to be limited a little bit early in the week, but I am hearing everything is real positive.”
If Robinson doesn't play, the Jaguars will lean on veteran running back Carlos Hyde. Hyde averaged over 4.0 yards per carry as Robinson's backup over the first eight weeks, rushing 21 times for 67 yards (3.2 yards per carry) with a fumble and catching one of two targets for six yards. Without Robinson against the Bills, the Jaguars rushed for just 79 yards on 27 carries (2.9 yards per carry), by far their worst rushing output of the entire season.
"Carlos is a good solid veteran backup for us, does a nice job of running the ball. He has to protect it, you know obviously we turned it over one time but there was another time the ball was on the ground as well so that is the focus that I am preaching," Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said on Thursday.
"We are totally confident and comfortable with what Carlos can do and if he has to be a main back, he was done it in his past and he can do it here. We are happy that we have him as well.”