Jan 1, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (32) runs past Indianapolis Colts defensive end Ricardo Mathews (91) and Indianapolis Colts defensive end Tyler Brayton (96) in the first quarter of their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. The Jaguars won 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE

Maurice Jones-Drew 2.0 - Putting New Treads on the Jaguars' Workhorse

As we all know, Maurice Jones-Drew is the main reason the Jags continue to be competitive year in and year out.  Before his time was the Fred Taylor era.  Years of undiminished success has come out of the Jaguar stable season after season. No matter who is calling the shots, the running back gets plenty of touches and plenty of yards.

For Maurice Jones-Drew it was 386 touches (43 receiving) and 1981 yards (374 receiving).

The next most touches in 2011 was Ray Rice with 367.

When your running back is getting 20 more touches than the next best guy and is the primary focus of your offense, so you know he’s going to be hit, he is bound to get beat up and probably bounced from the league pretty early.  Remember Larry Johnson’s great time in Kansas City?  He tallied up an impressive 457 touches (2nd most in NFL history) in 2006 (his fourth year in the league) for 1789 yards.  He hasn’t posted a single 1,000 yard season since.  He also hasn’t played a full NFL season since.

How can the Jags avoid wearing out MJD with too many touches moving forward?  Is it too late already? He’s already 62nd in NFL history with touches (Larry Johnson is sitting at 98th).

While we won’t really know until the new year begins, what we do know is that MJD has played through a lot of injuries.  Whether it’s a tweaked ankle, a busted knee, or some other ailment, the little engine that could always keeps going.  But we need to make sure to protect our investment.

Some people around the internet are saying it’s too late and the Jags have exhausted their only true gem.

I’m not a doctor or professional evaluator, so I’m not going to speculate about it, but I’d imagine that we haven’t done the absolute best job of doing so since we don’t have a legitimate 2nd string running back behind MJD.

We need a second option.  Some thought Rashad Jennings was that man until he went down for the entire past season.  Deji Karim is not the answer.  What we’re looking for is MJD 2.0.  Much like Pocket Hercules was for Fred Taylor during Taylor’s later years.

Trent Richardson may be that man.  He may be the best available player at pick seven.  He may be the one MJD 2.0 available in this year’s draft and next year’s draft.

As a friend of mine told me today, it’s never too early to be looking at life insurance even when you’re young.

If the Jaguars have a chance to protect the running back investment of Pocket Atlas (it’s a thing), they’ll nab Richardson if he’s available.  It makes sense.

– Luke N. Sims

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Tags: Fred Taylor Jacksonville Jaguars Larry Johnson Maurice Jones-drew Ray Rice Trent Richardson

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