Maurice Jones-Drew has stated that he expects to start with the Jaguars. Unfortunately for MJD, his words do no hold any weight with head coach Mike Mularkey. Mularkey is proving his worth by taking MJD a day at a time as he come sback from his 38-day holdout.
Unlike in years past, Jones-Drew does not have the familiar face of Jack Del Rio to bargain with. Instead he is dealing with the seemingly impenetrable Mularkey who knows that MJD has only had access to the new offense for a few days. It takes time to learn a new offense, it takes even more time to generate relationships with a new coaching staff. Tape can tell you a lot about what a player can do, but it takes practice and dedication to prove you can be trusted with the keys to the offense.
Thus far, Rashad Jennings has earned that trust and Jones-Drew has not.
It may be frustrating for MJD who has carried the load in Jacksonville the last three years, but he’s back to proving to a coach why he’s worth the investment. My advice to him is to do exactly what Mularkey is doing: take it one day at a time. Prove to him day in and day out that you are the player he wants and needs on his team. Prove your worth.
Mularkey is new to the Jacksonville scene so everyone has to show why they should be kept around, face of the franchise or not. MJD should be happy that he doesn’t have Pete Carroll as his head coach because there is an obvious disregard for how much a player is being paid and what is expected of them in Seattle. If Carroll were here it may just be Toston starting or backing up Jennings rather than Jones-Drew.
As MJD and Mularkey begin to create what we all hope is a positive relationship, there will be a rocky patch. Whether it’s talking about being fined $30K per day missed, not starting, or not having communicated once during the holdout, it’s going to be a rough start.
Fortunately it looks like MJD is willing to backup Jennings – for now. He touched on how he will approach practice like he is the starter, just like Jennings has done over the past few years. It’s about preparation and commitment. We’ll see how quickly he usurp his former title from his teammate.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims