James Robinson
Can James Robinson seize the number one running back job in Jacksonville? Jay Gruden says he’s in for a big workload. (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

Did you have James Robinson on your bingo card as the Jaguars starting running back? If you did, congrats, you got this one right. After Leonard Fournette was released, Robinson is now the Jaguars starting running back. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was not shy and suggested that the rookie from Illinois State was in for a significant workload.

He’s a no-nonsense guy, he really is,” Gruden said earlier this week regarding Robinson, via SI.com. “I try to get under his skin a little bit. I ask him if he’s nervous every day. He’s a very poised individual, no nonsense.”

“He’s ready to go,” Gruden said. “We’ll see when Sunday hits, the first time we give him the ball, the first time there’s a third-and-one or we have to get a yard. We’ll see how he does, but we have every indication that we’ve seen in training camp that he can handle it.”

“He can handle the workload,” Gruden said. “He’s tough. He’s strong. He’s got great vision. He can explode through holes. We’ve been impressed with him. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the preseason games to really look at him in live situations. We’ve had a couple in practice but they’re still not the same, but I feel very confident in his demeanor and his approach to the game that he will be ready.”

I initially thought Ryquell Armstead was going to be the lead back. That probably was going to be the case until Armstead found himself on the Covid-19 list. That opened the door for Robinson to take the job.

Chris Thompson will still be involved in the offense, but given his size and prior injury history, he’s going to be a change of pace back. Devine Ozigbo will be next on the depth chart to get an opportunity if Robinson fails. I would be surprised if that happened.

Robinson put together an excellent East-West shrine game performance. He’s not the fastest guy in the world, but he’s strong and runs with power. Robinson led the MVFC in rushing yards (1,899) and touchdowns (18). He’s got talent. Now we’re going to find out if he can seize this job long term.