If The Jacksonville Jaguars Had To Work Without Maurice Jones-Drew

With Maurice Jones-Drew continuing to hold out from the Jaguars’ training camp due to contract negotiations, one has to wonder what the Jaguars will do if they cannot reach a deal. I did not think MJD would hold out through training camp. I did not think he would hold out at all. Despite football being a business, there’s still a team that needs to work together in order to reach game day skill. Of course, MJD is in a ranking all of his own, but with the Jaguars trying to carve out a more throwing oriented offense, MJD’s touches may go down. A more poised Blaine Gabbert is certain to walk onto the field this year, but so is backup RB Rashad Jennings.

As Maurice Jones-Drew goes through his own workout regiment, Rashad Jennings is geling with the team and becoming used to first string pressure. Jennings averages 5.5 yards a carry, as well as 8.6 average receiving yards. If the Jaguars had to make due with Jennings handling more runs due to MJD being out of shape or unmotivated, they still have a versatile running back on their hands.

Hear me out. Anyone who has ever played a sport can tell you working out on your own without going to training or team activities is not going to cut the ham. While MJD deserves to be paid top dollar, the rest of the team does not deserve to be held out on. However, the situation also forces the team to consider other options.

If the Jaguars chose to minimize the running game altogether and become a pass first, run later offense, they would still find progress being made. According to Jaguars.com, Blaine Gabbert in August 3rd’s scrimmage “completed 10 of 13 passes for 91 yards  .  .  . second half was situational-based  .   .  . with Gabbert throwing three touchdowns in a brief period early”. A convoluted running back situation would create the perfect atmosphere for that Jags to develop as a passing team. No one is expecting Gabbert to break the walls down with Super Bowl contention, although one can dream, but fans are demanding more leaping catches to cheer over.

For Jacksonville to really make a run at the playoffs this year, management would be wise to just give Maurice Jones-Drew his 42 million and hold Rashad Jennings for more ripening. Even better, continue to develop Jennings and place him in perfect position to be traded for more talent in the coming years. Once the Jaguars sign draft pick WR Justin Blackmon, the receiving core will find itself in healthy confidence. Cecil Shorts, Mike Thomas, Zach Miller, and Zach Potter all caught touchdown passes during the scrimmage, demonstrating real rhythm developing within head coach Mike Mularkey’s new offense.

Well, I bought my tickets to see the Jaguars vs Jets come December 9th. Game 9 may seem like a long way from now, but hopefully by then we will see our Jaguars going into the last half of the season against fellow playoff contenders.

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