Year 3 or Year 2? For Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr., the transition from one season to the next is monumental. As he steps onto the field for the 2023 Jaguars Training Camp, it marks his third NFL season, or if viewed differently, his second. The 2021 NFL Draft's No. 25 overall selection had to overcome a Lisfranc injury that sidelined him for his rookie year. However, he made a triumphant return last season, solidifying his place as a starter and a vital player in the team's dynamic offense.
While the number of years may not matter to Head Coach Doug Pederson, what does matter is Etienne's dedication during his first full healthy professional offseason. Pederson commended him for coming back in exceptional shape, fully prepared and motivated. The absence of rehabilitation allowed Etienne to solely focus on conditioning himself and getting ready for training camp.
Etienne's primary objective during camp is to utilize the experience gained last season to enhance his skills as a runner. This focus on improvement is something Pederson emphasized throughout the offseason, not just for Etienne, but for the entire Jaguars running game. Pederson eagerly awaits the opportunity to witness Etienne's progress once the pads come on during practice.
Etienne himself is determined to refine his game, specifically his tracks and positioning. One area of improvement he identified is keeping his shoulders square with the offensive linemen, as he noticed a tendency to predetermine his moves last year. By maintaining squared shoulders, Etienne aims to keep the defense guessing and create more opportunities for himself on the field.
In his debut professional season, Etienne proved to be a consistent big-play threat, accumulating 1,125 rushing yards and five touchdowns. His remarkable 25-yard run in the AFC Divisional Playoff victory over the Los Angeles Chargers remains etched in the memories of fans and coaches alike.
However, both coaches and Etienne himself believe that there is still untapped potential waiting to be unleashed. Etienne acknowledges that his first year was primarily about regaining confidence and familiarizing himself with the intricacies of the game at the professional level. With a solid foundation in place, he now possesses a deeper understanding of what coaches expect from him, the offensive schemes, and the actions of his offensive linemen.
Looking ahead, Etienne is confident that this season will showcase tremendous growth. Armed with his newfound knowledge and experience, he believes the difference will be night and day. The levels of improvement he anticipates will undoubtedly leave fans and coaches awe-struck.
Travis Etienne Jr. is a name synonymous with resilience, determination, and raw talent. As he embarks on his third NFL season, the football world eagerly awaits the brilliance that awaits us on the field. Get ready, because Travis Etienne Jr. is about to take the league by storm.