Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson took part in team sessions during practice this week, keeping him on target to return in Week 1 after suffering an Achilles injury in December.
Coach Doug Pederson said Thursday the club expects the top back to return by the season opener against the Washington Commanders, but the team won't fret if Robinson needs more time.
"It's the expectation, it's kind of the hope that he can be there at that point," Pederson said Thursday. "If not, it's OK. We're comfortable with the guys behind him, and we'll go with what he have."
Robinson has generated 2,403 scrimmage yards and 18 touchdowns in two seasons after going undrafted in 2020. When healthy, he projects as the Jags' lead back, but 2021 first-round runner Travis Etienne has looked good in camp and preseason action. If Robinson can't suit up in Week 1 or the team decides to ease him back in, Etienne would see the bulk of the workload with fifth-round rookie Snoop Conner likely next in line.
Pederson said it's been good to get Robinson involved in team work after he was relegated to individual drills this offseason.
"It's exciting for us as a staff because, like I said, other than him running on the side, we haven't really seen him play football other than watching tape last year," Pederson said. "We're excited to get him back out there. ... It was good to see him make some of those moves and cuts, again, trying to progress him back slowly into work."
Earlier this offseason, Robinson said he was "not trying to rush" his return from the Achilles injury. Even with the running back returning to team drills, the team will continue that approach.
"I don't think you just go full steam ahead," Pederson said. "I think you gradually increase his reps because you don't want to stress his body. But at the same time, he needs to get enough work where he's possibly ready to go for Washington if that's the case."
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