It’s tough to overcome an injured offensive line, but if anyone can do it, it’s MJD. To begin receovering from this depleted O-line, Jones-Drew may just rocket off an “average” performance agains the Colts on Sunday.
Maurice Jones-Drew, the holdout for the Jaguars this season only has 137 yards after two contests. He didn’t start the first game and wasn’t expected to have as big of a role as he did but ended up pounding the rock more because Rashad Jennings left with an injury. With Jennings questionable again for the Colts game, Jones-Drew can do what he does best: beat the snot out of Indy.
Maurice Jones-Drew has 1,212 rushing yards in 12 games against the Colts in his career. That rounds out to a nice 101 yards per game. With a new 3-4 hybrid look on defense, I think that MJD may find a bit more running room against a rebuilding team. Believe it or not, Jones-Drew is averaging 4.4 yards per carry – equal to his season average from 2010 when he rushed for 1,324 yards. Given the carries (much more than the 12 attempts he had against the Texans) it’s pretty apparent that Jones-Drew could still do it behind an offensive line riddled with holes. Last year he did it without a passing game. This year, on the league’s worst offense (yes, after week two the Jags have cemented that position again) he could look to do it again. And if he rushes for 101+ yards again, I think I can live with that.
The Jags need to get back on track. While I believe firmly that they need to come out passing, that doesn’t mean that they should abandon the run. The run is this offense and they rarely run the ball better than when they face the Colts. This time the Colts have a rookie quarterback who won’t be able to make this a shootout as easily as Peyton Manning could. That should mean more time for Jones-Drew to eat up on the ground.
I’d like to see MJD get 25+ carries in this game. That would be the season high for him but would also show that the Jaguars trust the man that held out with a significant portion of the offense. If Gabbert can force the secondary to play off early then Jones-Drew should be able to get more than 4.4 yards per carry; even against Houston he was averaging five yards per attempt. Last year, MJD ran all over the field for 283 yards on 50 carries (5.6 yards per attempt) against the Colts, I think he can do it again.
The Colts defense is much softer than te Texans’ and the game probably won’t get as out of hand as the Houston game did. Feed MJD and the Jags have a real shot at stomping on an upstart in the AFC South. It may not be pretty, but grind-it-out, smash-mouth football rarely is. And that’s just the way it should be.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims