The Jaguars, as currently constructed, are not a good football team.
It would make sense, then, for Jacksonville to play one of its better players. That wasn't the case Sunday, when running back James Robinson was benched following an early fumble (caused by Aaron Donald, who did so even more impressively than usual) and didn't see a carry again for two quarters.
With Robinson out of the mix, Jacksonville rushed for 37 yards on 17 attempts. Twelve of those yards came on quarterback runs. The Jaguars were outgained 418-197 and never had much of a chance after halftime in their 37-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Jacksonville's most important player, Trevor Lawrence, would like some help from his capable teammates, with Robinson being at the front of the line.
"In my eyes, obviously, I'm the one that's out, see all the pieces moving, I see the whole picture," Lawrence said of Robinson's recent benching, via ESPN. "Bottom line is James is one of our best players and he's got to be on the field and we addressed it, and I feel like we're in a good spot and the whole team, we're good. Whatever may have happened, I honestly don't even know everything that went into it.
"I'm playing the game and stuff happens on the sideline with coaching decisions. I don't really get into that, but I know and I voiced my opinion: James is one of our best players and he's got to be in the game. I think we're all on the same page, so there's no confusion there. We're going to move forward. I know James is a hell of a player, so I want him out there."
Urban Meyer didn't seem to want Robinson out there, not after he'd been picked up by Donald and stripped of possession while still being carried by the freakishly strong future Hall of Famer. Instead, Meyer was content with rolling with former Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde -- who also fumbled, but was not benched -- while apparently teaching Robinson a lesson about ball security.
Afterward, Meyer chalked Robinson's absence up to something related to injury -- except that didn't make sense, considering it was Robinson receiving carries in the final moments of garbage time. Then, Meyer deflected responsibility to his running backs coach, who he said handled the rotation, though Meyer pledged to be more involved in it going forward.
Robinson said earlier this week he essentially understands that he cannot afford to fumble the ball, something he's done in two straight games. He's also been benched for periods of time in those same two games following his fumbles.
"You bench yourself," Meyer said, again via ESPN. "If you lay the ball on the ground and you come out for a few plays, and then it's up to the position coach and whatever to put you back in whenever that's time. And that's not [just] James. That's whomever. When the ball goes on the ground, you come [out]."
That's a fine and proper stance for a coach to take, as long as the communication is clear and the reasoning for removal from the game is honest. The media covering these woeful Jaguars and their fanbase deserve the same -- oh, and so does the running back who was benched early, then re-inserted when the game no longer mattered.