The term “throwing shade” is thrown around far too liberally these days, but in this instance, I think it applies. Here’s Leonard Fournette from the top rope:
Still bitter from his recent breakup with Jacksonville, Uncle Len clearly has an axe to grind. And who could blame him after coach Doug Marrone poured a mountain of unnecessary salt on the wound, claiming the Jaguars attempted to trade Fournette prior to his release, but “couldn’t get anything” for him.
Fournette’s criticism would seem to fall under the umbrella of “those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” The underachieving 25-year-old didn’t exactly set the world on fire in Jacksonville, rarely staying healthy while plodding his way to a pedestrian 4.0 yards per carry (that average sinks to 3.4 if you take away his five longest runs) in three seasons as a Jaguar.
That said, Fournette isn’t wrong about the situation he’s entering in Tampa Bay. Elder statesman Tom Brady, even in his twilight, is worlds better than the quarterbacks Fournette was surrounded by in Jacksonville. Between draft bust Blake Bortles (who played all of 11 snaps as Jared Goff’s backup in 2019), free-agent overpay Nick Foles (who the Bears are currently paying $21 million to hold Mitchell Trubisky’s clipboard) and mustachioed game manager Gardner Minshew, strong quarterback play has largely eluded the Jags in recent years. Even at LSU, it was slim pickings for Fournette, who played under a different starting quarterback each of his three seasons in Baton Rouge (Danny Etling, Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings).
Despite only being on the team a few days, coach Bruce Arians said he expects Fournette to have a “solid role” when the Bucs travel to New Orleans for their season opener against the Saints later this week. Fournette’s backfield competition in Tampa includes former NFL rushing champ LeSean McCoy, Ronald Jones and third-round Vanderbilt alum Ke’Shawn Vaughn.