This offseason the unthinkable occurred: Maurice Jones-Drew held out. The holdout was one of the most influential storylines of the Jaguars offseason. Yet after five games the team seems to have moved past it. While he has been an effective runner at time the fact of the matter is this: Jones-Drew has only had one 100 yard rushing game this season. If you take away his big game against the Colts in week 3 then his 82 yard per game average drops down to a meager 58 yards per game. As was shown by the Jets this past week, the Colts can be run on by anyone. MJD’s stats are simply being padded by the fact that he will get to play a terrible defense twice a year.
Last season, behind a similarly terrible offensive line and with similarly horrendous offensive production, MJD was able to make everyone look somewhat better. His season low through five games was 84 yards. Compared to the production we’re seeing this year MJD looks like a shell of his former self. Last year he punished defenders for taking advantage of a weak offensive line. This year he is the one being punished.
I thought that Jones-Drew would get better as the season wore on because of his more frequent integration into the offense, but right now you have to wonder if he can do that. The Raiders may turn around his declining trend this coming week. Then again he may show that this could be the new norm for him. He could show that this could be the decline we all dreaded from out prized workhorse.
The season is still young but without Jones-Drew’s ability to pound it out the Jags can’t be competitive in games. His 4.9 yards per attempt is still impressive. He has only broken 20 carries in a game once (against the Colts). The team can still rely on him for some good yards but they aren’t. His play isn’t as game-changing as they require from him.
This team can’t move as far away from him as they have been the past two games (only 29 carries combined).
If Jones-Drew’s decline is a planned movement away from him in the offense then the coaching staff needs to realize it isn’t working, fast. Five wins seems like a long way away right now, but at least we got there last year on the back of Pocket Hercules. Given the chance he may be able to do it again.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims