Let’s Chat About Running Back
By Luke Sims
Rashad Jennings, Rashad Jennings, Rashad Jennings…man can that guy play. Averaging 4.7 yards per carry against the Giants, Jennings showed that the drop-off from Maurice Jones-Drew to him is not very much. But what about the people behind Jennings? If MJD doesn’t show up, who’s backing up the man taking over for Pocket Hercules?
The Jags put in five running backs on Friday night. Here are their stat lines:
Coming into the game, we all expected Jennings to have a good beginning to his season. He ran strong, had a great run up the sideline and solidified his spot as a big part of the offense for the 2012 season. Backing him up was Jalen Parmele. Apparently the Jaguars have been high on Parmele throughout camp, but during this preseason game he showed no flashes as a returner or back that made him stand out from those who entered the game behind him. It is especially concerning for him since he was running the ball against first and second string guys and couldn’t manage to wiggle forward for yardage.
Montell Owens looked very good on his five handoffs. He ran well, kept his pads low and hit openings to gain yards. The Jags will keep him purely for his special teams abilities, but of the running backs behind Jennings he definitely looked the most prepared for the game.
I also really liked DuJuan Harris again this preseason. His cut backs and agility were on display when he touched the ball. Sure, he fumbled that one time, but I think he’ll get better with more touches. Maybe he will manage to sneak into a few games for 2012 if he continues to outperform Parmele.
A pleasant surprise was Keith Toston late in the game. He was playing against third and fourth string guys, but he made it all look like a game of pickup ball. He ran well, found lanes to hit, and he showed some good patience waiting for things to develop. I think he ran about as fluidly as Harris, maybe a bit less, but seemed to have a bit more burst that wasn’t apparent with Harris.
I am worried that the team may still really like Parmele, because I just can’t see the good that could come from having him second or third on the depth chart. However, I think the depth behind Jennings, on the whole, is really very good. The Jags are finally transitioning away from being a very run heavy team, but it’s good to know that if they have to they can pound it down the opposition’s throat.
– Luke N. Sims
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