How Can the Jacksonville Jaguars Best Use Denard Robinson?

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How Can the Jacksonville Jaguars Best Use Denard Robinson?

The Jacksonville Jaguars have created a new position in the National Football League. The "OW."

No, it's not some special pass-rusher created especially by new defensive-minded head coach Gus Bradley.

It stands for "offensive weapon," and that's how rookie Denard Robinson is listed on the Jaguars' official roster.

The former Michigan quarterback, who was taken in the fifth round by the Jaguars in the 2013 NFL draft, will be switching positions in the NFL.

However, to which position and how often remains to be seen.

The 5'10", 199-pound Robinson worked primarily with the running backs in rookie camp and OTAs, drawing the praise of offensive coordinator David Caldwell, who told Alex Marvez of FOX Sports that he wants to get the ball into Robinson's hands.

Robinson, for his part, is saying all the right things, telling Chris Wesseling of NFL.com that he's embracing the opportunity to embrace the "slash" role of former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart.

Come on. I watched it. He said he's a 'Slash.' He said he can put me at anywhere. That's what I want to do. I want to be somebody that fits in to the team and being one of the team players.

Robinson also drew the praise of Bradley during minicamp, with the coach telling John Oefser of the team's website that “He was good. He’s learning a couple of positions. You saw him line up at tailback and at wide receiver. We’re throwing a lot at him.”

So, with Robinson working at running back and wide receiver and expected to play a significant role on special teams, it begs the question: How can Bradley, Caldwell and the Jaguars best take advantage of their new "OW"?

The easy answer is by getting him the ball in space, where Robinson can use his impressive speed and agility to make defenders miss.

As Robinson shows in this play against the Iowa Hawkeyes, not only does his 4.43 speed give him the ability to get to the outside, but he's also more than capable of making tacklers look silly in the open field.

Yes, Robinson may be practicing with the running backs, but he's not going to pound away between the tackles. Nor should he.

Get Robinson the rock on sweeps, tosses and screen passes. Let him put those jets to good use.

There's another way that the Jaguars can make good use of Robinson's skills. It involves lining him up at his old position, using a bit of the offensive formation that's taking the NFL by storm and perhaps mixing in a formation that went from the penthouse to the outhouse very quickly.

Robinson ran a lot of read-option at Michigan, especially earlier in his career. The Jacksonville offense was among the worst in the National Football League last year, and the team is desperately in need of a spark.

Perhaps Robinson, lined up in the shotgun with running back Maurice Jones-Drew, could provide that spark.

It also might not be a bad idea to break out the Wildcat formation from time to time.

Stop laughing.

The Wildcat fell out of favor in the NFL because teams got lazy with it. They'd line up a running back at quarterback, and then that running back would take off with the ball. The threat of a passing play was nearly non-existent, and defenses knew it.

With a former quarterback taking the snap, that threat returns, and so could the effectiveness of the formation.

Of course, some will say that the threat of the pass really isn't there with Robinson, that he's just too erratic as a passer to be effective at all. After all, he only completed 53 percent of his passes last year at Michigan.

That isn't to say that Robinson should be the full-time quarterback or that he's ever going to complete 65 percent (or even 55 percent) of his passes.

However, as this play shows, he is capable of getting the ball to a receiver, at least much more so than most of the players that teams have trotted out there in the Wildcat. In fact, he's probably better throwing deep passes than short ones.

Line him up in the Wildcat, try to suck the safeties in, send wideout Cecil Shorts on a go route and let it rip.

For that to work though, the Jaguars need to give Robinson a chance to be effective. That means more than just a play or two. It means an entire series.

At this point some will argue that that would stunt Jacksonville's offensive rhythm as well as the development of quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Now it's my turn to chuckle.

The Jaguars didn't have any offensive rhythm in 2012. As for Gabbert, let's be honest. Gabbert is who we think he is. He's not going to suddenly turn into a quality NFL starter. The odds are very good that the Jaguars are going to be headed back to the drawing board at quarterback in the 2014 NFL draft.

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So start Gabbert (or Chad Henne...six of one, half a dozen of the other). However, after a few three-and-outs, what could the Jaguars possibly have to lose by giving Robinson a series or two to try to jump-start the offense by changing things up?

Nothing, that's what.

Granted, if the Jaguars have any intention of lining up Robinson at quarterback, they've done a better job covering it up than the NSA. That doesn't necessarily mean they won't, though, or that they shouldn't.

None of this comes with any assurances. Collegiate exploits aside, there's no guarantee that Denard Robinson will ever be a successful NFL player.

However, if the Jaguars really are serious about making Robinson a "weapon," then they need to be willing to go against the grain. Think outside the box. Be creative.

After all, the Jaguars have nowhere to go but up, and maybe if they get Denard Robinson the ball in varying and creative ways, it will be opposing defenses that end up saying "OW" at the end of the day.

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