Countdown to Jaguars Football: No. 40 and the Impact of Tommy Bohanon
In fewer than 100 days, the Jacksonville Jaguars will return ... at least as things stand today.
While there is still some uncertainty surrounding the start of the NFL season, the league office has made it clear that they are planning to kick the season off on Sept. 10 and then have every other team play on Sept. 13.
By going off that timeline, we are now just 40 days from watching the Jaguars take the field against the Indianapolis Colts for the first regular season game of 2020.
Since most past Jaguars players have been backup running backs, tight ends and full backs, there aren't many No. 40s who have left a significant mark on the franchise. With that said, one notable No. 40 made a clear impact on the best Jaguars team of the last 10-plus years: former fullback Tommy Bohanon.
A seventh-round selection by the New York Jets in the 2013 NFL Draft, Bohanon spent three seasons with the Jets before joining the Jaguars as a free agent in 2017. The addition of Bohanon represented the return of the fullback position, which the Jaguars had left off of the roster in the previous two seasons.
Bohanon joined the Jaguars the same offseason that other members of the franchise such as Tom Coughlin, Leonard Fournette and Cam Robinson did. He was a signal that the Jaguars wanted to move toward a more downhill, physical style of offense, and he immediately was given a role in offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett's offense to do just that.
In the 2017 regular season, a year in which the Jaguars won double-digit games for the first time since 2007, Bohanon played 24% of the offensive snaps, often paving the way for Fournette as a blocker. But the Jaguars knew teams would key in on Bohanon as a pure blocker, and they made a point to scheme plays toward him to take advantage of the lack of attention.
In 2017, Bohanon rushed for two touchdowns in the regular season and also caught six passes for 43 yards and one score. This included three scores vs. the Houston Texans in two games, including two rushing scores vs. Houston in a playoff-clinching win in Week 15.
"We made a strategic decision that we wanted to have a fullback and have a fullback on our team to kind of go with our philosophy," Marrone said second win vs. the Texans, via First Coast News.
"Our first philosophy is that we want to be a physical team. I just always believe that when having a fullback in your offense you have the ability to work on it. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be physical, but you have the ability to work on it.
"He does a lot of good team stuff for us that I think gets overlooked a little bit. Special teams, he’s on special teams. Being able to go down in there when everyone is geared up to your tailback and being able to give it to your fullback and have it hit quick and score, obviously it’s a good situation or a good scheme to have, to have someone you can trust to do that down there," Marrone continued.
Bohanon's impact didn't restrict itself to the regular season, however. With 4:19 left in Jacksonville's Divisional Round game vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers following the team's AFC South championship season in 2017, Bohanon became the only Jaguars fullback to ever score a postseason touchdown. It came via a 14-yard pass from Blake Bortles, and put the Jaguars ahead 42-28 in an eventual 45-42 victory. Bohanon also caught a 20-yard pass in the AFC Championship loss to the New England Patriots the next week.
While the Jaguars and Bohanon found less success in 2018, Bohanon's 2017 season is maybe the most impactful year a Jaguars fullback has ever had aside from a few Greg Jones seasons. And because of that, Bohanon is the top No. 40 in Jaguars' history.