Before Travis Etienne suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury last summer, the Jaguars were experimenting with him at wide receiver in addition to his listed position of running back.
There’s a new coaching staff in Jacksonville this year, but Doug Pederson and company appear to share the previous regime’s view of Etienne’s versatility because he was playing receiver at Tuesday’s OTA. After it was over, Etienne said he’s all for “flexibility” and invoked 49ers wideout Deebo Samuel‘s name while discussing his best-case scenario for his role.
“If I’m in those positions throughout the game and we get good matchups, we’ll be able to exploit them,” Etienne said, via Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports. “So it’s just me being able to do more and being valuable. Football is all about matchups so I mean if I could be like Deebo Samuel, I would love that. Honestly the game is a game of productivity. If you can produce, the team is always going to have a need for you. It’s just trying to be the best player I can be so I can be on the field at all times.”
Samuel hasn’t seemed overly thrilled about his receiver/running back-hybrid role as he looks for a new contract this offseason, but Etienne noted that it would be “totally fine” for him because he’ll take less pounding while getting to work “outside in space and just work against DBs, smaller guys and I don’t have to run between the tackles.” Any contribution will be welcome in Jacksonville after a lost rookie season and anything that draws comparisons to Samuel would be a major boon for their offense.