Punch Drunk Wonderland

Can Toby Gerhart Carry the Load for Jacksonville?

After serving as a perennial backup to Adrian Peterson in Minnesota, running back Toby Gerhart is finally getting his shot at a starting gig with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gerhart is an interesting gamble because while he’s shown flashes when given the opportunity, he is largely an unproven back.

Our friends at numberFire.com have taken a look at Gerhart’s move to the Jags and what his future may hold.

In 2008, Michael Turner was picked up by the Atlanta Falcons after four years in the shadows of soon to be Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson. Atlanta’s new GM at the time, Thomas Dimitroff, saw that Turner had the potential to be a lead back from the limited opportunities he saw from Turner in San Diego. Atlanta picked him up quickly when he reached free agency that year, and the gamble paid off, as Turner rushed for 1,699 yards on a whopping 376 carries.

This off-season, the Jacksonville Jaguars made a similar gamble in their acquisition of former Minnesota Viking running back Toby Gerhart.

Emerging from the shadows of another potential Hall of Famer in Adrian Peterson, Gerhart has been finally granted his time to shine as the lead back for a team. In fact, head coach Gus Bradley will utilize his new weapon early and often in 2014. “He (Gerhart) has the ability to play all three downs,” stated Bradley. Gerhart is likely to get the bulk of the carries in Jacksonville this year.

The truth is, Toby Gerhart has very little competition in Jacksonville, a team that seemed to put all of its eggs in the Gerhart basket. The depth chart behind him includes unproven UConn product Jordan Todman, former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, and newly acquired seventh-round pick Storm Johnson. It’s not a particularly threatening group to take away carries, or even targets, from Gerhart.

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