Here is a tip for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ coaching staff:
In 13 games last season, the second-year running back rushed for 459 yards on 84 carries (5.5 yards per carry) and had an additional 223 receiving yards.
Those numbers aren’t too shabby but Jennings needs even more touches in 2011.
Jennings is a quick, one-cut back with the size (6-1, 228) to finish runs and is an excellent complement to Maurice Jones-Drew, who has more of a straight-ahead running style.
In an era where using a multitude of running backs is all the rage, giving Jennings closer to 150 carries makes more sense. It will allow him to get in a rhythm and Jones-Drew to receive less of beating.
Jennings had the second most yards of running backs that had less than 100 carries last year. Looking at stats from Football Outsiders, Jennings has a DVOA, or Defense-adjusted Value Over Average of 29.3 percent.
That basically means Jennings’ value was nearly 30 percent better than a back who has an average rushing performance. No starting running back had that high of a number, although they rarely do because of the pure amount of attempts the get. Still, I’d argue that means Jennings is ready to get more carries.
His success rate of 52 percent (dictates a player’s consistency) was also high when compared to starters around the league. In comparison, Jones-Drew’s success rate was at 51 percent.
So the on-field production is there for Jennings to warrant more carries, but more important is that him getting touches means less for Jones-Drew, who at 26 is beginning to deal with the beat down the running backs take in the NFL.
Last year Jones-Drew had 299 carries and was hampered by a knee injury throughout the season. He even missed the last two games of the season when the Jaguars were 8-6 and battling for a playoff spot.
In order to keep Jones-Drew going a little longer than most backs, Jennings getting more touches is essential. And as his stats indicate, he is ready for an increased workload.
The two have the ability to feed off each other and together they can give the Jaguars one of the league’s most potent one-two punches.
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