Maurice Jones-Drew Playing Catch Up
By Luke Sims
Maurice Jones-Drew got married shorty before OTAs began (Congratulations!) and has yet to make an appearance. Rumor has it that he would like a contract extension (And the Jaguars could really use keeping him around no matter the price) and he waiting out voluntary workouts to show his lack of satisfaction.
No matter the reason, MJD is missing out on some serious development for the offense.
According to ex-Bills, now Jaguars wide receiver, Lee Evans the offense is very difficult for the offense to grasp. There are a lot of options in route running, a lot of changes that can occur at the line, and the offense needs to be cohesive in order to be effective against the opponent.
That means understand the opponent and the tendencies of the defense and seeing the same things as the other players on the offense.
MJD is missing out on all of that due to his lack of participation. Currently, about half of the offense has been installed. A few weeks ago, head coach Mike Mularkey (who crafted the offense in Buffalo when Evans was there) said that he has been trying to get important information to Jones-Drew, but it is really most beneficial to be in the environment when the team is implementing the scheming.
I don’t know how great Jones-Drew is at learning plays without running them. I would imagine he has some talent at it. But it really hurts to not run through a play with the teammates. While MJD may be great at understanding a play as it is drawn up, he won’t really understand how his teammates see and react to the play until he is running through it with them. Not to mention the benefit the rest of the offense gets from his knowledge and skill-set.
Rashad Jennings has been waiting in the wings for some time and is a gifted runner. But if MJD is on the team, Jennings will be with the second team. It is not the same to have the second team running back with the first team learning the offense. The tendencies of that running back, his preferences, his desires and sight are learned and ingrained by the other players – whether they know it or not.
So when Jones-Drew isn’t at OTAs, it isn’t just him playing catch up, he’ll be making the whole team do so as well when he returns.
Come back soon mate.
– Luke N. Sims