Running back has gone from the Jacksonville Jaguars’ strongest and deepest position to one of uncertainty following Rashad Jennings being placed on injured reserved.
In the today’s NFL, losing a backup running back like Jennings can be a crushing blow. The multiple-back system is becoming more and more common and a second-string tailback can have almost as much value as a starter.
While the Jaguars are fortunate to have All-Pro Maurice Jones-Drew taking a majority of the carries, losing Jennings will still tremendously impact this year’s squad.
Jennings hurt his knee against the Buffalo Bills and was placed on the IR this Saturday when the Jaguars trimmed their active roster to 53 players.
The injury will not require surgery, according to the Florida Times-Union. It will however keep him sidelined for the season.
Jennings was coming off of a strong sophomore year in which he ran for 459 yards on 84 carries (5.5 yards per carry) and looked to be an exceptional backup to Jones-Drew, who had his season end two games short following a meniscus injury.
Losing Jennings present some potential problems for the Jaguars with it still being unclear just how durable Jones-Drew will be this season.
The third-year back out of Liberty was supposed to see an increased role in Jacksonville and was going to allow for Jones-Drew to avoid so much wear and tear on his battle-tested knee.
Now that won’t be the case.
Jones-Drew’s presence now becomes even more important with a rising semi-star like Jennings gone. The Jaguars will still have depth at the position but Jennings had the ability of a second starter.
The team will turn to Deji Karim to supplant the loss of Jennings. Karim is has the makings of a talented NFL back as well, but he is a bit more one-dimensional than Jennings. Karim is an ideal third-down back because of his speed and ability to catch out of the back field.
Now he will be asked to become more of an every down back in order to regularly spell Jones-Drew. Karim showed he can do some damage with given space this preseason, but we’ll see how he holds up during the year and if he can become “the guy” if Jones-Drew has to miss any time with complications from last year’s injury.
The Jaguars also have three powerful yet quick fullbacks who can do some damage as short yardage runners. Montell Owens is listed as the third-string running back but Brock Bolen and Greg Jones are also capable of doing some damage in a single-back backfield.
Tags: Deji Karim, Greg Jones, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, Maurice-Jones Drew, NFL, Rashad Jennings
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