Jaguars' Denard Robinson needs a role

October, 24, 2013
10/24/13
2:00
PM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- At first, Denard Robinson was an offensive weapon.

Then he was just a wide receiver.

Now he’s a running back.

[+] EnlargeDenard Robinson
Melina Vastola/USA TODAY SportsThe Jaguars are continuing to try to find a place on the field for Denard Robinson, including lining up the rookie at running back.
Regardless of which position Robinson plays, this is perfectly clear: He’s not getting much action.

Robinson has played just 17 snaps this season and just four in the past three weeks. His lack of playing time is mainly because the Jaguars still aren’t quite sure what his role should be.

He has had trouble holding onto the ball, which he showed by fumbling a faked handoff when lined up as a wildcat quarterback against Seattle. He also dropped a screen pass against Indianapolis.

He didn’t throw the ball well in training camp, either. He was an average passer at Michigan, completing 57 percent of his passes for 6,250 yards and 49 touchdowns with 39 interceptions, and his throws in camp were inaccurate.

Until the Jaguars can figure out an exact role for the team’s sixth-round draft pick, Robinson will continue to get sporadic reps.

"We continue to go through the Denard Robinson figuring-out process," offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said. "We put him back there at kick return to see how he handled the kickoffs and see if he could hit it. We tried to put him in Wildcat and he struggled with that a little bit on that one that we fumbled the exchange. Then we also threw him a screen and it didn’t end up well, so we’re going to continue to see what Denard can do.

"We believe 100 percent that losers make excuses and winners make it happen. And we’ve got to find ways to make it happen and that’s what it’s going to come down to, and we’ve got to figure out what Denard can do best."

Robinson is a pretty good open-field runner, but there’s not enough trust to throw him the ball. He could just take a shotgun snap in the Wildcat and run the ball, a throw-back to single-wing football, but that negates the element of deception that the read-option needs.

The only other way to get Robinson the ball is by lining him up at running back. The Jaguars have done that the past two weeks. He had one carry for 9 yards against San Diego and one for 2 against Denver.

Now that Ace Sanders and Stephen Burton have cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol, the Jaguars have their top five receivers on the practice field for the first time this season. That leaves no room for Robinson there, so he’s likely to spend the rest of the season lining up at running back -- which means a carry or two each game.

"I think now he can focus more at running back," coach Gus Bradley said. "We were trying to find out where we can place him and things like that, but I think now we’re finding out let’s give him some opportunities at running back."

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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