Darrell Bevell has coached a lot of talented running backs in his time as a coordinator. From Adrian Peterson to Marshawn Lynch to Chris Carson to D'Andre Swift, Bevell has seen all types of skill sets and styles.
Now, he is moving onto another running back, another skill set, and another brand of running: James Robinson.
Bevell was announced as the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive coordinator on Thursday, and it is already clear how important of a role Robinson, and the running back position, will play in the Bevell era of offense.
"The running back position is huge. It does a lot of things. In my mind, it sets up a lot that you can do in the play action game, in the movement game," Bevell said Thursday.
Robinson was the team's workhorse last season and this is expected to continue in 2021 under Bevell and new head coach Urban Meyer. On a team that is currently lacking an identity and cornerstone pieces on each side of the ball, Robinson provides both.
"James [Robinson] had an outstanding year. I was able to meet him for the first time today," Bevell said. "He was in the weight room, so I got to say hi to him just for second. [He] had a really nice year for himself, obviously an undrafted rookie coming out and played really well."
Overall, Robinson carried the ball 240 times for 1,070 yards (4.5 yards per carry) for seven touchdowns. He led rookie running backs in receptions (49) and touchdown receptions (three) while recording 344 yards. In 14 games, Robinson finished with 1,414 scrimmage yards (1,070 rushing, 344 receiving), the most scrimmage yards by an undrafted rookie in the common-draft era.
He was also the only rookie in the NFL to average more than 100 scrimmage yards per game this season. In short, he was among the best of all NFL rookies and all NFL running backs in 2020. He was the entire Jaguars' offense, the heartbeat of a team that gave its all every Sunday but came up short nearly every time.
Robinson's work is not done, though. He had a terrific rookie season, but it is clear when talking to Robinson that he prioritizes winning above all else. Despite his gaudy numbers, a winning record eluded Robinson in a big way in his rookie year.
That is where Bevell will help come in. He will be tasked with designing and implementing a running game that fits Robinson's skill set while also giving him the opportunity to expand his game.
But so far, Bevell likes what he has to work with, giving this scouting report of Robinson's game on Thursday.
"I like his skill set. I like the way he cut the ball. He’s got really good vision. He’s got great contact balance. He can make guys miss at the second level. He can make guys miss and get what we need to. Obviously, he’ll continue to work on speed and those kinds of things, but [I] really like what he’s done and [I] look forward to working with him."
The Jaguars will have a lot of moving pieces on offense in 2021. Meyer and Bevell will add their own touches to the offense, while Robinson will be joined in the backfield by a rookie quarterback. As impressive as Robinson was last year, all of these are reasons why he will need to be even better in 2021.
Now it is in the hands of Bevell to help make sure that happens.