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Jags' Fournette focuses on 'clean start' after dismal season

Fri May 24 3:46pm ET
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer

Players: Nick Foles, Alfred Blue, Carlos Hyde, Corey Grant, T.J. Yeldon, Leonard Fournette

Jacksonville Jaguars running backs coach Terry Robiskie, center, talks with running backs Ryquell Armstead (30) and Leonard Fournette (27) during an NFL football practice, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)


Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) carries the ball during an NFL football practice, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Leonard Fournette slipped off his sweaty cleats, signed each one and then handed them to a young fan after practice.

The youngster carefully walked away with Fournette's gold-colored shoes, making sure not to touch the drying ink. After all, the memorabilia could appreciate in value if the Jacksonville Jaguars running back gets his NFL career turned around.

Fournette spoke publicly for the first time in nearly six months Friday, finally addressing the worst season in his 24 years and everything that's happened since. He was injured, suspended and on the bench in crunch time. He was fined, criticized and admittedly not in ideal shape late in the year.

The Jaguars voided the remaining guarantees in his rookie contract following his one-game suspension for fighting, and personnel chief Tom Coughlin ripped him for being ''disrespectful'' and ''selfish'' during the season finale. Adding to the chaos, Fournette was arrested last month for driving with a suspended license.

''It's a new year,'' Fournette said following practice. ''We have a new team. We're focused and we have new players. It's a new year for us, so it's a new everything. It's a clean start for a lot of us guys. We're not focused on the past. The past's the past.

''Some things I did, whether it was offseason and I admitted to, yeah I was wrong. We moved on. We're in a good place right now.''

The Jaguars were in a tough spot without Fournette last season, unable to run the ball with any consistency after building the offense around the former LSU star and fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

He finished with 439 yards rushing and five touchdowns in eight games after running for 1,040 yards and nine scores as a rookie. He's missed 11 games in two seasons, including two because of suspensions.

''Everybody has a bad year, so I don't feel like I've got to prove myself to no one,'' Fournette said.

The team probably feels otherwise.

Jacksonville completely revamped its running backs room around Fournette, firing position coach Tyrone Wheatley and parting ways with backups T.J. Yeldon, Carlos Hyde and Corey Grant.

Coach Doug Marrone hired 64-year-old Terry Robiskie, who, like Fournette, was born and raised in New Orleans and attended LSU, as running backs coach. They also added veteran Alfred Blue (another LSU alum) to be Fournette's backup.

And even though they signed quarterback and former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to upgrade one of the NFL's most anemic offenses, Fournette is still expected to be the centerpiece under new coordinator John DeFilippo.

''He's going to be a major reason for where our offense goes,'' DeFilippo said. ''I'm not going to sugarcoat that. Leonard Fournette needs to be a big part of this offense. The harder he works, which he is right now, I think that's not only going to be good for our offense, but good for our team.''

Fournette said he weighs 226 pounds, down 14 pounds from the end of last season.

He spent part of this offseason training in Dallas and then went to Wyoming to work with his college strength and conditioning coach in hopes of getting back to his ''foundation.''

''I kind of put a lot on myself this offseason, like getting my body right,'' Fournette said. ''Just mentally coming back ready to play football. No distractions. Leaving the outside stuff where it's at. I think that's one of the biggest things that us players. ... We face a lot of problems, you know what I mean?

''We have a lot of issues, and if we're not right with ourselves and then we come out on this field, we're not going to be right in the game.''

Getting Fournette back on track is one of Jacksonville's top priorities. Coaches believe he's got the talent to be one of the best backs in the league - a guy whose worn cleats would be a collector's item - but they have to keep him healthy, in shape, motivated and focused.

''Those young guys at that age, I always think they need a little more push, a little bit more guidance, a little bit more leadership,'' Robiskie said. ''Leonard is one of those guys. He's got the ambition. He's got the heart.

''I think he wants to win. I don't think he wants to win a game. I think he wants to be a part of something special. I think he wants to win a Super Bowl, and I think the year before last, that little taste that he had, I think that kind of helped push it a little bit more.''

Player Notes
Denver Broncos Sep 21 10:10pm ET

The Denver Broncos Defense was respectable in the Week 2 loss against a powerful Steelers offense with two rookies in the secondary. Safety Justin Simmons had two passes defensed, including an interception of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Fellow safety Kareem Jackson also recovered a fumble that led to a fourth-quarter touchdown that cut Pittsburgh's lead to five. The defense had a total of six tackles for loss, with their lone sack coming courtesy of defensive tackle Mike Purcell. They did, however, allow two passing touchdowns and gave up over 100 yards on the ground to James Conner, the second straight week allowing a back to go for over 100 rushing yards. Against Tampa and Tom Brady with receiver Chris Godwin (concussion) back in the fold, Denver's D will be a risky streaming option.

From RotoBaller

Solomon Thomas Sep 21 10:10pm ET

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Solomon Thomas (knee) was confirmed to have suffered a torn ACL in the Week 2 win over the Jets. The season got off to a bad start for Thomas when the Niners declined the 25-year-old's fifth-year option, and things just got a lot worse. The Stanford product hasn't lived up to his draft stock as a third-round pick in 2017. The 49ers had the worst luck of any team in the injury department in a Week 2 full of devastating season-ending injuries. All-Pro pass-rusher Nick Bosa also tore his ACL, ending his 2020 campaign. Look for rookie Javon Kinlaw to pick up the slack up the middle, while the Niners will also need DJ Jones and Arik Armstead to step up.

From RotoBaller

Brandon McManus Sep 21 9:50pm ET

Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus was 2-for-3 on his field-goal attempts and made his lone extra-point try in the 26-21 Week 2 loss to the Steelers. McManus connected from 49 yards and 28 yards out and missed his lone attempt from 58 yards out. Denver's offense has potential, but they are dealing with injuries to quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) and running back Phillip Lindsay (toe), while receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) will miss the rest of the season. McManus isn't much of a fantasy option at the kicking position until further notice, despite his big leg.

From RotoBaller

Tim Patrick Sep 21 9:40pm ET

Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick secured just two of his five targets for 24 yards in the 26-21 Week 2 loss to the Steelers on the road. It was a slight step down for the 26-year-old, as he caught four of five targets for 29 yards in the season-opening loss to the Titans. There will be more opportunities for Patrick the rest of the year with Courtland Sutton (knee) suffering a torn ACL, but even so, Noah Fant and rookies Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler will likely be ahead of him in the pecking order. Also, quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) is out for two to six weeks.

From RotoBaller

Jerry Jeudy Sep 21 9:20pm ET

Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy caught four of his seven targets for 62 yards in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers. Even though Jeudy has yet to score a touchdown in his first year in the NFL, he was tied for the team lead in catches and targets in this game. There's a lot to like about his route-running ability, which helps him gain plenty of separation, but he won't be as exciting as a WR4/flex for fantasy managers with quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) expected to miss anywhere from two to six weeks.

From RotoBaller

Noah Fant Sep 21 9:20pm ET

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant caught four of his five targets for 57 yards and a touchdown in the 26-21 Week 2 loss to the Steelers. He now has nine catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns, just one short of his rookie-season total, through two games in 2020. Quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) will be out anywhere from two to six weeks, but the drop-off to Jeff Driskel may not affect Fant all that much. In fact, Driskel could lean heavily on Fant moving forward. As one of the top receivers in Denver's offense with Courtland Sutton (knee) out for the year, Fant has become a solid TE1.

From RotoBaller

Royce Freeman Sep 21 9:10pm ET

Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman attempted just three rushes for 20 yards in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers with Phillip Lindsay (toe) inactive. Even with Lindsay on the sidelines for this one, Freeman just wasn't a part of the offense as Melvin Gordon III's backup. Lindsay could miss more time, but Freeman just won't see enough touches to be fantasy relevant unless Gordon also suffers an injury that causes him to miss time.

From RotoBaller

Melvin Gordon Sep 21 9:00pm ET

Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III carried the ball 19 times for 70 yards in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers with Phillip Lindsay (toe) inactive, but he salvaged his day for fantasy managers with two catches for 14 yards and his second touchdown of the season. The good news for Gordon is that he should continue to be a big part of this offense with Lindsay potentially out for another game and receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) out for the remainder of the year. He'll be facing a Buccaneers Defense in Week 3 that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to the running back position through the first two weeks. Consider Gordon a usage-based RB2 until Lindsay is back in the fold.

From RotoBaller

Allen Lazard Sep 21 8:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard had a quiet day in Week 2 against the Lions, though he was still sneakily involved in the offense. Lazard saw five targets, which was an improvement on the four looks he saw in Week 1. He hasn't put up amazing numbers yet, though he has been on the field far more often than fellow wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who has had better stats so far. Interestingly enough, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a higher passer rating when targeting Lazard than when he throws to Valdes-Scantling or star receiver Davante Adams. These are reasons to keep the 24-year-old stashed on fantasy benches. Lazard has a couple of fantasy-friendly matchups on the way against the Packers in Week 3 and the Falcons in Week 4.

From RotoBaller

Kerryon Johnson Sep 21 8:10pm ET

Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson led the Detroit backfield in carries and scored a rushing touchdown in a 42-21 loss to the Packers in Week 2. It should be noted that Detroit had to abandon the run earlier than they would have liked in this one, considering how quickly Green Bay jumped out to a lead. So in reality, leading the backfield in touches sounds much more impressive than it actually was, as Johnson ended up with only eight touches. It wasn't a bad showing, but Johnson's role is just too unpredictable with D'Andre Swift and Adrian Peterson also manning the backfield. He's likely not worth rostering a this point, unless injuries force him into action.

From RotoBaller

Nick Bosa Sep 21 8:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (knee) has suffered a torn ACL and is out for the remainder of the season. The team was fearful that he would miss significant time and the MRI confirmed those fears. The 22-year-old was a big reason why the 49ers fielded arguably the league's best defense last season, as he registered nine sacks as a rookie and made the Pro Bowl. It's a crushing blow for a defense that was looking to prove that 2019 was no fluke. With multiple injuries on defense in addition to Bosa, the 49ers' unit is one that will have to be downgraded for fantasy purpose moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Henry Ruggs III Sep 21 7:50pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (knee) is active and will take the field against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. Ruggs III was expected to play after upgrading to a limited session on Friday and taking the practice field again on Saturday, though it is always nice to get the official word. It's possible that the rookie isn't 100 percent for this one, but his speed and big-play ability will still have to be respected by the New Orleans defense. Look at him as a boom-or-bust WR4 for a contest that has the potential to be high-scoring.

From RotoBaller

Drew Lock Sep 21 6:00pm ET

Denver Broncos quarterback Jeff Driskel led an unlikely comeback against the Steelers in Week 2 that ultimately fell short after Drew Lock (shoulder) was injured. Driskel took six sacks and absorbed 17 hits from a ferocious Pittsburgh defense, but the Broncos were 15 yards away from a stunning upset on the road. With Lock out at least several weeks, Driskel will continue to lead Denver's offense, beginning in Week 3 against the Buccaneers. In the end, he completed 18 of 34 passes for 256 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the 26-21 loss, adding two rushes for five yards. Even though Driskel exceeded expectations in a tough situation, he'll be low-end QB2 streamer going forward in superflex leagues.

From RotoBaller

Seattle Seahawks Sep 21 5:50pm ET

Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (knee) tore his ACL in the Week 2 win over the Patriots on Sunday night and will miss the rest of the 2020 season, according to a source. It's a tough blow for the 32-year-old veteran, especially since the Seahawks Defense had allowed close to 1,000 total yards of offense combined to the Falcons and Patriots in the first two weeks. Rookie first-rounder Jordyn Brooks will need to step up in the middle of Seattle's defense for the rest of the season. Against a Cowboys team that made a miraculous comeback in Week 2 with over 40 points, you should be looking to avoid the Seahawks defense in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Baltimore Ravens Sep 21 5:40pm ET

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh confirmed that nickel cornerback Tavon Young (knee) will miss the rest of the 2020 season after suffering a torn ACL in the Week 2 win over the Texans. The 26-year-old had just two combined tackles in two games this year, but it's a blow to Baltimore's secondary moving forward. It could immediately become an issue heading into the Week 3 showdown against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football, making Tyreek Hill a better option to go off deep down the field. While the Ravens Defense surely won't have as much high-end fantasy upside this week against the defending Super Bowl champions, they're still in play as a starting unit.

From RotoBaller

Tevin Coleman Sep 21 5:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (knee) is expected to miss "multiple weeks" after suffering a knee injury in the Week 2 win over the Jets, according to a source. The Niners are expected to be without both Coleman and Raheem Mostert (knee) for Week 3 against the Giants, which would leave Jerick McKinnon as the primary running back. Jeff Wilson Jr. will also have a role in this backfield, but McKinnon is the one you should be targeting on the waiver wire if you own Mostert or Coleman or one of the other handful of backs that suffered injuries in a crazy Week 2. Don't be surprised if Coleman is placed on Injured Reserve, which would make him droppable in shallow leagues if you don't have the room to hold onto him.

From RotoBaller

DeVante Parker Sep 21 5:03pm ET

Miami Dolphins CB Byron Jones (Achilles, groin) did not participate in practice Monday, Sept. 21. S Clayton Fejedelem (pectoral), CB Xavien Howard (knee), DE Shaq Lawson (hip) and WR DeVante Parker (hamstring) were limited. RB Matt Breida (ankle), WR Jakeem Grant (shoulder), DE Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle), LB Elandon Roberts (concussion) and LB Kyle Van Noy (hand) practiced in full. The Dolphins did not hold a practice Monday, so the report is an estimation.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Sep 21 4:53pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (knee) suffered a knee injury in Week 2 against the New York Jets that is expected to sideline him for 'multiple weeks,' according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Coleman is expected to join Raheem Mostert on the sideline for Week 3 and perhaps longer. As a result, undrafted rookie free agent JaMycal Hasty is expected to be elevated from the practice squad to join Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson as the three active backs versus the New York Giants. McKinnon is expected to get the start and would be the recommended fantasy play but may be kept under 15 touches given his injury history. Nevertheless, he would be a high-upside flex play in that matchup.

From TheHuddle

Tyrod Taylor Sep 21 4:43pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers QB Tyrod Taylor (chest) missed the team's Week 2 game versus the Kansas City Chiefs after experiencing complications from a pregame injection that was administered to address a rib injury, according to multiple sources. Taylor's status for Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers is not yet clear, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

Fantasy Spin: Justin Herbert shined in his first pro start against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2 and nearly led the Chargers to an upset of the reigning Super Bowl champions. Considering their upcoming opponent and the fact they will be without Christian McCaffrey, it may be the prudent move for the Chargers to turn to the rookie yet again. With that said, only fantasy owners in superflex or two-quarterback leagues should consider Herbert this week.

From TheHuddle

DeMarcus Walker Sep 21 4:43pm ET

Denver Broncos DL DeMarcus Walker (calf) suffered a calf injury in Week 2 that is expected to keep them from playing 'multiple weeks,' according to head coach Vic Fangio.

From TheHuddle