The New England Patriots traveled to Florida with some questions about their offensive personnel: starting right tackle Marcus Cannon did not make the trip, while running backs Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel are both listed as questionable to play. New England’s running back woes, however, do not appear to be as severe as the Jacksonville Jaguars: last year’s AFC runner-up is preparing to play without Leonard Fournette today.
According to a report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Jacksonville is “not optimistic” that Fournette – officially listed as questionable as well – will be available today. ESPN’s Adam Schefter, meanwhile, noted that the 23-year old is “unlikely” to play although a final decision has yet to be made. Fournette missed all week of practice due to a hamstring injury he suffered during last week’s game against the New York Giants.
The star running back left the game late in the first quarter after getting hurt on a screen pass. At that point, Fournette had registered 12 touches for 55 yards. He was replaced as the Jaguars’ primary runner by T.J. Yeldon, who projects to be the team’s top option again today in case Fournette will indeed be unable to go. Jacksonville also has Corey Grant and recent practice squad call-up Brandon Wilds at the running back position.
Losing Fournette would undoubtably be a blow to the Jaguars: 2017’s fourth overall draft pick is the team’s best offensive player and finished last season with a team-high 1,342 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns. The LSU product then added 77 touches for 286 yards and four scores during Jacksonville’s playoff run – one that ended in New England, in a game that saw Fournette register 26 touches for 89 yards and one touchdown.