The Jacksonville Jaguars' top and only offensive weapon (kicker Josh Scobee not included) is on the verge of becoming a tremendous liability.
All-Pro running back Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 105 yards in Monday's 12-7 against the Baltimore Ravens, but he also fumbled the ball three times and had a couple more close calls.
Jones-Drew had three fumbles in the previous four games, which is concerning considering he had only 13 career fumbles heading into the 2011 season.
It's difficult to tell exactly why the star runner is having the problem. The ball is obviously larger in his hands compared to a lot of other backs, as he's only 5-foot-7, but size never has been an issue before. He definitely isn't tucking the ball away as tightly as he should and that has to add to the problem.
Where a lot of Jones-Drew's fumbling problems are occurring is on his way down to the ground. He has been letting go of the football as he hits the turf since the beginning of the season. He's been fortunate to not lose many, but the problem became magnified when he coughed up the ball one yard shyy of the end zone against Baltimore, keeping the Jaguars off the score board.
It seems like Jones-Drew is developing a bad habit for letting go of the ball when he is tackled. It probably started with him letting it go after he was tackled but has evolved into him letting it go as he's being brought down, and when he's knee isn't down, it's a fumble.
If that's the case, the problem is completely fixable. Right now there's no reason for him to even be doing it.
But the bottom line is that he is doing it and if it isn't corrected then the Jaguars will have to explore other options throughout the game. He becomes a liability if he's fumbling multiple times a game and is close to fumbling the ball a couple more times. He is the Jaguars' work horse and the only chance they have at this point to consistently move the ball. But Jack Del Rio and his staff cannot giving goal line carries to a fumbler, which is what MJD is turning in.
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