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By: Adam Stites
Tank Bigsby’s rookie year hasn’t gone as planned. While the Jacksonville Jaguars’ third round pick scored two touchdowns in his first three games, he was also directly responsible for two turnovers in his NFL debut.
Those ball security issues haven’t gone away. Bigsby fumbled against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8 and a ball bounced off his hands for an interception last week against the San Francisco 49ers. There may have been a little too much heat on the throw from Trevor Lawrence, but Bigsby hasn’t done much to earn the benefit of the doubt.
Travis Etienne Jr. is still convinced Bigsby has a bright future, though.
“I feel like I was in that same situation last year,” Etienne said Monday. “You just have to weather the storm. In the NFL, I learned last year that you can’t get too high and you can’t get too low. It’s a week-to-week thing, all you got to do is go out there and make a play and nobody is even worried about Tank missing the ball.
“Just get out of his head, block out the outside noise and just be who he is. We all know Tank is a talented kid and we all know he’s a great football player. He’s just got to go out there and just show that and be himself.”
Etienne missed his entire rookie season due to a Lisfranc injury. In his first actual year on the field, the 2021 first-round pick fumbled five times, second most in the NFL among running backs.
This season, Etienne has 189 touches, third most in the NFL through 10 weeks, and hasn’t fumbled once.
Bigsby, 22, has just 27 touches so far (26 rushing attempts, one reception), but has fumbled twice and had two passes bounce off his hands for interceptions. The question now is whether he’ll get a chance, as Etienne said, to “weather the storm” in the last eight weeks of the season.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the rookie is more or less shelved while D’Ernest Johnson gets more touches as the reliever for Etienne. The former Cleveland Browns running back, who was signed by the Jaguars as a free agent earlier this year, made the most of his five touches in Week 10, producing 40 yards from scrimmage.
Bigsby may require patience and reps to develop into a player the Jaguars can rely upon. That might not be a luxury the Jaguars can afford while in the midst of a playoff race.
Originally posted on Jaguars Wire