Leonard Fournette has lofty goals, and he's working hard to see them come to fruition. Perhaps the most polarizing figure on the Jaguars' offense, Fournette is entering a pivotal third season in the NFL.
Despite an injury and mistake-filled sophomore campaign, Fournette has high expectations for himself and his team. Jaguars' OC John DeFilippo shared with the media on Monday that he knows "Leonard's goal is to be the best back in the league."
Great expectations, indeed.
Earlier this summer Fournette met with the media. He covered a wide variety of topics. When asked about his goals for the upcoming season, instead of talking about personal aspirations, Fournette spoke about his goals for the team: "Just to win," said Fournette. This was just one of the many signs that Fournette has matured after a humbling 2018 campaign.
During the offseason, instead of sticking with the same old routine, Fournette decided to push himself. He traveled to Wyoming for an intense training regimen with his former college strength and conditioning coach. The decision to challenge himself and remove the distractions that come along with being in a familiar environment was more evidence of Fournette's personal and professional growth.
Once it was time to return to Jacksonville, Fournette showed the same commitment. He attended almost all the team's voluntary OTAs and has been a leader with his play on the field and with his work habits off it.
Overcoming a lack of maturity is not the only hurdle that Fournette will try to leap in 2019. Staying healthy will be paramount. But the hope is that his hard work on and off the field will help in that department too. The former fourth-overall pick has played in just 24 of a possible 35 games (including the playoffs) since joining the Jaguars in 2017.
If Leonard Fournette is to reach his goals, both personally and for the team, staying healthy and focused will be the biggest keys. When Fournette has been on the field, he's done exactly what the Jaguars have asked of him: find the endzone. With 20 total touchdowns in 24 games, there's no denying the bruising back's ability to reach pay dirt.
Playing in John DeFilippo's offense with Nick Foles under center, Fournette will likely be able to become a significant factor out of the backfield as well. He's the team's best pass-catching back, and John DeFilippo has noticed a substantial improvement in the pass-blocking department from the third-year back.
"I come from a winning foundation, and I think it's time to get back on that track. I think that's what Jacksonville needs: championships. I think I'm the guy for the job."
Those were Leonard Fournette's words in his introductory press conference after being selected by the Jaguars in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. With a newly found maturity and a bit of luck on the injury front, Fournette might just live up to his own expectations.
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