Robinson might even get a heavy workload depending on how he feels and the game develops, Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said.
“I think we’ve got to get into the football game,” Pederson said Wednesday. “I’ve been in situations like this, too, where you want to go in and you want to control the pace of play with a guy like James. At the same time, if he’s feeling good and there hasn’t been any setbacks or anything, then you just go and you just roll with it.
“… I think he’s back. He’s practiced these last few weeks. He’s looked really good. I’m excited to watch him play.”
Robinson’s return comes less than nine months after he suffered a torn left Achilles tendon in a loss to the New York Jets on Dec. 26. He had been limited to individual work throughout much of training camp but did participate in team drills during joint practices with the Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 24-25. He did not play in any preseason games.
“I feel like I’ve been ready since the last couple weeks of training camp,” Robinson said. “If I had limitations, I wouldn’t be out there. So like I said, I feel good and I’ll go out there to be me again.”
Robinson has averaged 17 touches per game in his two-year career with the Jaguars, but the plan is for him to share the workload with Travis Etienne Jr., who worked as the top back throughout camp and the preseason and whose speed complements Robinson’s more physical running style.
“He’s a little different runner than [Etienne], obviously, and he fits a certain style of run game that we like and [Etienne] fits another style that we like,” Pederson said of Robinson. “You try to use both of them together and be smart, put them in situations where they can be successful, obviously. That’s on us as coaches to do that.
“… It opens things up if you’re running the ball successfully, and it starts there. It’s nice to have two different types of runners because you can do different things during the game. It’s more, too, about what works and what’s going to work as you get into the game and as you make adjustments.”
The Jaguars signed Robinson as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Illinois State in 2020 and were so impressed in training camp that they cut former first-round draft pick Leonard Fournette. Robinson has rushed for 1,837 yards and 15 touchdowns and has caught 80 passes for 566 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons with the Jaguars.
In 2020, Robinson posted the most scrimmage yards (1,414) and second-most rushing yards (1,070) in the common draft era by an undrafted rookie.