Jay Gruden: Undrafted RB James Robinson “can handle the workload”

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When the Jaguars dumped running back Leonard Fournette, it created plenty of questions about their tailback position. An undrafted rookie could be the answer.

James Robinson of Illinois State has landed atop the depth chart, and he has won the confidence and praise of first-year offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

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.”

Given the lack of joint practices or preseason games, the Jaguars will find out along with everyone else whether he can get it done.

“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.”

Handling it apparently means handling the bulk of it, too.

“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.”

Gruden added that he’s surprised by Robinson’s ability to catch passes and to block defenders. “He’s a great blocker; he has great hands,” Gruden said. “He’s picked up everything extremely well. . . . James has really taken it to a level for a rookie free agent, not getting the reps early in camp, to really dominate in the reps that he did get and really turning our heads and that’s the key to a rookie free agent making the team. Evolving into a starter is almost impossible without any preseason games, but he made us all feel very comfortable about it with his ability to do the right thing and then when he does have the ball, he makes something happen.”

On Sunday against the Colts, we’ll see whether something good happens for the Jaguars.