Jaguars coach Doug Marrone is expected to hire veteran assistant Terry Robiskie as his running backs coach, an unusual move that seems focused on ensuring Leonard Fournette will remain the centerpiece of the team’s offense.
Robiskie, 64, has never worked as a running backs coach in a career that dates back to 1982. However, like Fournette, he is from New Orleans and played college football at LSU before his five NFL seasons at running back.
SiriusXM’s Alex Marvez was first to report the deal.
Robiskie most recently served as Buffalo’s receivers coach in 2018, a position he previously held in Atlanta, Miami, Cleveland and Washington. He also worked as the offensive coordinator in Tennessee, Cleveland and with the Los Angeles Raiders.
Marrone’s outside-the-box thinking in hiring Robiskie suggests he is less interested in an Xs-and-Os teacher and more focused on bringing in someone who will connect with Fournette, who is coming off a dismal second season.
Fournette rushed 133 times for 439 yards and five touchdowns while playing eight games in 2018. He missed seven games due to injury and sat out another because of an NFL-issued suspension stemming from his on-field fight with Buffalo defensive end Shaq Lawson in November.
That fight and the ensuing suspension led to the Jaguars voiding the remaining guarantees on Fournette’s rookie contract.
Fournette acknowledged near the end of the season that he “could be in better shape,” which in fairness was probably somewhat the result of a lingering right hamstring injury that caused him to miss six of the team’s first eight games. However, Fournette also drew a strong rebuke from front office chief Tom Coughlin following the Jaguars’ season finale at Houston.
Fournette was inactive for the game because of an ankle injury and spent the duration on the bench next to teammate T.J. Yeldon, who was active, a sign neither was particularly engaged. Coughlin described both players as “disrespectful” and “selfish” in a statement released by the team.
Yeldon is a pending free agent and is unlikely to return. The Jaguars’ brass met with Fournette after the season for a clear-the-air meeting, hoping to improve their relationship and get more production from the player they drafted with the fourth pick in 2017.
Robiskie’s main charge is to ensure that happens, something former Jaguars running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley was unable to accomplish. In addition to Fournette, Robiskie will take over a running backs room that currently includes Carlos Hyde, Thomas Rawls and Dave Williams.
After playing four seasons at LSU from 1973-76, Robiskie was an eighth-round pick by Oakland. Robiskie had 159 carries for 553 yards and five touchdowns in 33 games (11 starts) with Oakland and Miami.
Robiskie’s coaching career began in 1982 as the Raiders’ assistant special teams coach. He served as the team’s assistant running backs coach from 1985-87, his closest connection to his new job with the Jaguars.
The Jaguars remain without an offensive coordinator even as Marrone fills out his staff. He is also expected to hire George Warhop as the team’s offensive line coach and Tim Walton as the secondary coach.
The addition of Robiskie would mean the Jaguars have one position-coach vacancy at defensive line.