June 12, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings (23) during minicamp at Florida Blue Health

Showing Rashad Jennings Some Love

In the NFL there are circus acts and there are professionals.  They all get called professional because of their level of play, but in reality the actions of the players dictate what they are.  You have your Chad Ochocincos (remember when he last name wasn’t his number in Spanish?) playing alongside the Aaron Kampmans.  For every Philip Rivers (a circus act hiding as a professional) you have an Aaron Rodgers.

Some teams love to have the circus act (Read: The Dolphins Anybody hosting Hard Knocks) while others prefer the professional.  It doesn’t really seem to hurt the team’s actual revenue no matter who they suit up so long as they win every so often.  You need only look at the Bengals to see the truth of that statement.

The professional is one who completely avoids the circus, puts his head down, and works.  Rashad Jennings is doing just that in Jacksonville.  He hasn’t said much about Maurice Jones-Drew’s holdout but knows that the longer MJD is gone the more reps he gets and more of a chance he has to cement himself as a staple for the Jaguars offense.  Pocket Hercules may be “the man” but when the man is away, Jennings knows its his spot to lose.

Will the Gabbert to Jennings handoff become the norm for 2012? Source: US-Presswire

With a number of players holding out, requesting trades, or demanding new contracts a lot of players and agents overlook one or two simple little things: not all press is good press, and while you’re gone someone else is usurping your spot.  I’m not claiming that Jennings is intentionally trying to undermine Jones-Drew – he’s just doing his job and so far it seems like the team likes it.  Percy Harvin realized this pretty quickly after he left camp for all of a day.  Harvin’s job isn’t as secure as Jones-Drew’s, but even the greats get undermined sometimes.

Jennings has the ability to lead this offense.  I recently noted the poor winning percentage of the Jaguars with MJD taking the majority of the carries.  His winning percentage sits at 42%.  ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky also noted the phenomenon a few days later.  Would that percentage have changed significantly with someone else in the backfield?  I doubt it.  Either way, the Jags probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs.

I’m not advocating the Jags get rid of MJD.  But if his holdout continues into the season, I don’t think us Jaguars fans should be too upset and think our chances of winning have significantly decreased.  While Jennings didn’t play in 2011, his 5.5 yards per attempt in 2010 is impressive.  Considering he only got 84 attempts, he easily could have been a 1,000 yard back for the Jaguars.  He also presents a big target out of the backfield.  He pulled in 26 receptions for 223 yards in 2010 and a decent 8.6 yards per reception.  At 6’1″ 234 pounds his presence is powerful when running or receiving.

The statistics show that Jennings can do work.  Jennings was getting hot in 2010 and will be hot in 2012.  If MJD isn’t there, then when he returns he may be spelling Jennings.  And while that whole fiasco is being settled, Jennings is going to be a professional, put his head down, and do work.

- Luke N. Sims

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Tags: Aaron Kampman Aaron Rodgers Chad Ochocinco Cincinnati Bengals Hard Knocks Hbo HBO's Hard Knocks Jacksonville Jaguars Maurice Jones-drew Maurice Jones-Drew Contract Maurice Jones-Drew Holdout Miami Dolphins Percy Harvin Percy Harvin Holdout Percy Harvin Trade Philip Rivers Rashad Jennings

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