Jaguars running back Chris Ivory has been a pleasant surprise as a receiver this season

Following a disappointing debut season with the Jaguars, some questioned whether veteran running back Chris Ivory would make it past training camp in Jacksonville this year.

Entering his eighth NFL season, Ivory had his ups and downs during his second offseason with the Jaguars. The expectations weren't high.

However, through the first six games of the regular season, Ivory has carved out a role as the third-down back behind rookie phenom Leonard Fournette.

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Ivory struggled with blocking throughout the preseason and had never been known as a prominent receiver prior to Week 1. The Jaguars ask all of their running backs to be proficient in both areas.

Since the launch of the regular season, Ivory has been able to handle the third-down role with consistency.

In the Week 6 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Ivory was the team's leading receiver. The veteran produced a career-high nine receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown. 

The receiving score was his first as a Jaguar and only the third of his career.

Ivory has 16 catches for 143 receiving yards and a touchdown this season. He is third on the team in catches and receiving yards.

With the Jaguars struggling to create anything in the passing game, Ivory has become an outlet for quarterback Blake Bortles.

Along with his newly found receiving proficiency, Ivory has become a more consistent blocker. He has been able to pick up the blitz when called upon.

Ivory has also increased his rushing production. His yards per carry average has risen from 3.8 last season to 4.1 this year.

While it's easy to lose track of Ivory within the Fournette successes and the passing game woes, the veteran has become a reliable contributor on offense. In a time when the Jaguars' offense has become largely one-dimensional, Ivory has established himself as an asset in an area of weakness.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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