The new brass under Doug Pederson seems to have similar designs, utilizing Etienne primarily as a pass-catcher in an early organized team activity practice, according to CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones. Etienne sees position flexibility as the key to his success in his return to the field. The second-year player said his goal would be similar to a "wide back" like Deebo Samuel.
"Nah, nah just position flexibility," Etienne told Jones. "If I'm in those positions throughout the game and we get good matchups, we'll be able to exploit them. So it's just me being able to do more and being valuable.
"Football is all about matchups, so I mean, if I could be like Deebo Samuel, I would love that. Honestly, the game is a game of productivity. If you can produce, the team is always going to have a need for you. It's just trying to be the best player I can be so I can be on the field at all times."
Etienne evoking Deebo is interesting considering Samuel's standoff in San Francisco is partly due to his desire to take less wear and tear as a runner.
"Well see it's different for him because he's the receiver going to the backfield. I'm the running back going to receiver," Etienne said. "For me that's taking less pounding on my body. For him that's putting my pounding on his. You've got to see it from his perspective. For me, it's totally fine because I get to get outside in space and just work against DBs, smaller guys and I don't have to run between the tackles. Who wouldn't love that?"
The Jags would love to see Etienne become a dual-threat force after missing his entire rookie season. If he stays healthy and becomes a weapon, Jacksonville would have a stellar backfield duo in James Robinson and Etienne.