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Jacksonville Jaguars’ Maurice Jones-Drew Needs to Be Careful Picking Sides in Quarterback Battle

June 21st, 2011 at 7:52 PM
By Brendan Sonnone

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has a tendency to speak his mind.

He’s usually funny, insightful and straightforward. It’s a large reason why he’s popular around the NFL.

But maybe Jones-Drew needs to take a break from being so upfront for a while.

Jacksonville Jaguars Maurice Jones-Drew looks to the sideline as he runs the ball in for a touchdown during the second half of their NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Jacksonville, Florida December 12, 2010. REUTERS/Daron Dean (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The All-Pro told NFL Network’s NFL Total Access that he wasn’t necessarily thrilled that the Jaguars selected Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the 10th pick of April’s NFL Draft. 

"Very shocked by it," Jones-Drew said. "(They) felt like (starting quarterback) David (Garrard) needed somebody to compete with."

He added:

"I just feel like what we needed as an offense wasn't a new quarterback, we just needed another year amongst each other because we had a lot of new players come in.”

"It's gonna be fun to watch, but I know David'll win. I mean, he's a fighter. That's what he does."

In short, Jones-Drew’s quotes indicate that he’s not happy that the team drafted Gabbert.  

To a certain extent I understand where he’s coming from. He’s comfortable with Garrard at quarterback and at 26 years old, he does not want to see a quarterback take three or four years to develop. He wants to win now, not when he’s 30.

But Jones-Drew’s public criticism is way off base. First, it can’t be good for team chemistry. What if Gabbert comes in, looks great in limited action and eventually takes over for Garrard?  Obviously there’d be some wounds to mend between the starting quarterback and running back. That'd be a great problem to have if the Jaguars are in a position to make a late-season playoff push.

Secondly, if I’m Jones-Drew, I am not defending Garrard. Sure they might be friends and have gone through a lot together, but has Garrard really proved himself as someone you want to battle with? This is a player who seemed to panic and put Jones-Drew and his teammates in bad positions at the worst times last season. If I were a player, I’d be welcoming competition to push Garrard and make the team better overall.

So before Jones-Drew or any other of his teammates—ahem, Marcedes Lewis—defend Garrard, think about the long-term ramifications of not embracing your quarterback of the future. 

Tags: Blaine Gabbert, David Garrard, Football, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, Maurice-Jones Drew, NFL, NFL Draft

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