As we all know, Maurice Jones-Drew left Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders with a foot injury. This injury will keep him out against the Green Bay Packers next week as well. What if he had stayed in the game? How did his absence affect the Jags?
MJD had all of six yards on two carries in the Raiders game. Before leaving the game there wasn’t much of a way to gauge how much of an impact Jones-Drew would have. But we can speculate based on how the Jaguars have called their plays over the past few games.
In Sunday’s game the Jaguars threw the ball less than they have in games past. Naturally, when nursing a lead, a team tends to run the ball more. Yet the Jaguars actually passed more than they ran despite failing after Gabbert left the game. The Raiders game resulted in a 55%/45% split. This is interesting since Rashad Jennings was not doing well running the ball on the day. Jennings only had 44 yards on 21 carries against the Raiders. Those 21 carries are more than MJD has received in every game except the Colts game (28 carries).
The Jaguars had 10 rushes for Jennings and 12 passes for Gabbert before Chad Henne stepped into the game. Gabbert put the Jaguars up 14-3 when he left the game. Even though Henne was failing during his time on the field the Jaguars only rushed with Jennings 11 more times compared to 20 pass attempts by Henne. While it was nice to see the team play with a lead finally and it was nice (or terrible) to get a look at Chad Henne, the team continued to pass heavily during the game.
It is difficult to maintain a lead without your best rusher, but Jennings is considered to be a very good running back within the Jaguars organization.
Unfortunately, without MJD the team could not rely on the running game. Rather than turning the play selection to a heavy running game the Jaguars were forced to rely on Henne’s arm. Without MJD the team had significant drop-off in the running game.
– Luke N. Sims