Jags QB Trevor Lawrence, HC Doug Pederson discusses having Travis Etienne back on the field

·3 min read

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Pederson decided to sit several players during the Hall of Fame Game, and running back Travis Etienne was among them. That said, Friday’s game against the Cleveland Browns was the first time he’s taken the field since the Jags’ Week 2 preseason game last season, as he sustained a season-ending Lisfranc injury against the New Orleans Saints that night.

Etienne’s teammates were happy to see him back on the field Friday, as he made a few solid plays in both the passing and running game. That includes quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who not only was drafted in the first round with Etienne last year, but played with the star rusher while attending Clemson University.

When asked about the return of Etienne after the game, Lawrence said it felt “great” to see him return after all the work he put in during rehab.

“Yeah, it’s just great to see him back out there,” Lawrence said. “It’s been a long time since he’s played. He’s had a rough year. Last year wasn’t the easiest year for anyone, but on top of that, he’s hurt and rehabbing and not really as much a part of the team as you’d like to be in your rookie season, so I know that was tough for him. But just seeing how he’s fought back and rehabbed really hard to get back and be 100 percent, and I think he looks great.”

“He’s still kind of getting back in the, I guess, rhythm of things because he hasn’t played in so long, but just to see the plays he made tonight, that catch he made, ran a great route, catch he made on the sideline coming up the field, he had some great plays. He’s going to help us a lot.”

Etienne ended the night with nine carries for 23 rushing yards. While that was only good for an average of 2.6 yards, there were moments where he flashed his explosiveness as a rusher, like on his first carry where he registered a 12-yard gain. Etienne also had the aforementioned catch from Lawrence where he converted a third-and-six scenario with a 10-yard reception.

It’s plays like those that should excite fans about how Etienne will help the offense, but he still has a lot of work to do. After the game, Jags coach Doug Pederson said he was glad to see the second-year player back, but added that he got a little antsy at times.

“It’s kind of interesting because I thought he did some things really well,” Pederson said. “He stayed disciplined in his path, in his track, and I thought maybe sometimes he got a little antsy and tried to make some moves that probably weren’t there. But that just comes with time, as you know, and he hasn’t had the time. These are valuable reps for him. He’s going to get better. He’ll watch the film either tomorrow or the next day and make the corrections. But I thought overall for the first time back out, it was good to see him and put him in those situations.”

As Pederson pointed out, patience and decisiveness come in time for young rushers. After all, Friday’s game was just Etienne’s third, and even when considering the preseason games he participated in last season, he was only on the field for a limited amount of time.

Etienne has a great opportunity to learn coming up this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With notables like T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward on their defensive unit, Etienne should have a good challenge ahead, and it’s one he could take in a lot of lessons from.

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Story originally appeared on Jaguars Wire