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Urban Meyer Updates James Robinson’s Progress: ‘I Think It Is Gradual’

James Robinson hasn't been near 100% in recent weeks, leaving head coach Urban Meyer to determine on Friday just how close his star running back is.

The key factor that has helped lead to the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive slide over the last month has become the same factor the Jaguars' offensive staff is now balancing each week -- James Robinson's injury. 

Robinson has been injured since the end of the first quarter of the Jaguars' Week 8 contest vs. the Seattle Seahawks. While managing a heel/knee injury, Robinson missed Week 9 and then was listed as questionable in the last two weeks before going on to playing in each game. But even in those two contests, Robinson simply hasn't looked like the same back at times, especially in the open field. 

Now that Robinson is completely cleared for Week 12's tilt against the Atlanta Falcons, with the second-year back being a full participant in Friday's practice and not showing up on the weekend's game status report, the Jaguars and head coach Urban Meyer are hoping they can get Robinson closer to 100% and full speed. 

“I think it is gradual. You can see him at practice and he has practiced a little bit more. Two weeks we did not practice at all, last week minimal practice and now he is practicing some," Meyer said about Robinson on Friday after also stating Robinson "should be good to go," against the Falcons. 

In nine games this year, Robinson has rushed 112 times for 568 yards (5.1 yards per game) and seven touchdowns, while also catching 24 passes for 169 yards, becoming the most instrumental part of a limited Jaguars offense. This follows a rookie year in which Robinson set undrafted free agent records while rushing for 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns on 4.5 yards per carry, while also catching49 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns. 

But in the last two weeks, Robinson and the Jaguars' ground game has been so-so at best. Robinson has picked up a few key gains, especially in Week 10 vs. the Colts, but the last two weeks have seen him rush for just 86 yards on 24 carries (3.58 yards per carry), with two goal-line touchdowns. 

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"It is just a pain threshold thing and it is also a guy like James you could see last week, he did not have the same juice that he normally has. That is going to come more the healthier he gets," Meyer said on Friday. 

Robinson's injury has played a major role in the Jaguars' offensive decline in recent weeks. Robinson had five touches for 39 yards before leaving the Seattle game with his injury, and since he has been less than 100%, the Jaguars' previously top rushing attack has fallen toward the bottom half of NFL offenses as Carlos Hyde and a limited Robinson haven't been as effective as earlier in the season.

The Jaguars were No. 12 in rushing EPA/Play and No. 3 in rushing success rate from Weeks 4-6 as they averaged 140.33 yards per game and James Robinson looked like a Pro Bowler. The offense was getting better each week, with Lawrence's development and Robinson's legs leading the way.

Robinson was injured after just a few series in the first week after the bye, however, and the Jaguars' offense hasn't been the same since. Robinson missed just one game due to his heel/knee injury, but the numbers simply haven't been there. Since the bye week, the Jaguars rank No. 28 in rushing EPA/PLay and No. 23 in rushing success rate as the team has averaged 98.5 yards per game on the ground -- but take out Jamal Agnew's 66-yard run in Week 10, and the Jaguars are averaging just 82 yards per game in that span.

“James is a fighter. He has been fighting through you know the heel [and] the knee. Once your lower leg, you have an injury. He is fighting through it and he has made a couple great runs for us," Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said on Wednesday.

"You know, he will continue to rehab and work his way back. In the meantime, he will be in there and then you have to spell him with Carlos [Hyde] and other guys that we are using."