Today Jaguars 101 will go over running backs.
Question To Answer: Will Maurice Jones-Drew have any lingering effects from his torn meniscus?
Breakdown: Jones-Drew was amongst the league’s top running backs last season as he accumulated 1,324 yards on the ground despite an injured meniscus malign him through much of the year. The knee problem ended up costing him the final two games of the season when the Jaguars needed the All-Pro to make a playoff push. Second-year back Rashad Jennings rushed for 459 yards and will likely have a bigger role backing up
Jones-Drew this upcoming season. Rookie Deji Karim displayed promise as well.
This Group Will Be Fine If…Jones-Drew is healthy.
Worst Case Scenario: Jones-Drew re-injures his knee or is far from 100 percent.
Prediction: Clearly the position—and the offense in general—is all about Jones-Drew. The dynamic mighty-might (5-7, 208) is an excellent short-yardage runner and is also terrific as a receiver out of the backfield. It’s reasonable to believe that he will be near full-health when the season begins and his track record indicates that he will hold up through the year. Having an impressive back like Jennings to help carry the load will also be vital in keeping Jones-Drew fresh and the offense in tip-top shape. Expect the Jaguars’ running game to be as impressive this season as it was in 2010.
My Confidence Rating: 8 – An elite player, a promising youngster and a solid third-down back means there’s plenty of reason for optimism in regards to the running game. The only worry is if Jones-Drew has any problems from his knee injury. If he’s near 100 percent then this group of backs should be amongst the best in the NFL in 2011. If not, Jennings can carry the load for a while but is likely not ready to be a full-time back.