Motivation is a powerful tool. It makes Maurice Jones-Drew well worth keeping an eye on in 2014.
"My goal last year was to show people I was healthy again and finish the season strong," Jones-Drew said Tuesday, according to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle. "My goal this year is to be explosive again."
Jones-Drew said at the kickoff of offseason workouts that his foot "feels phenomenal" now one year removed from surgery. The running back said he held off on surgery because he wanted to be a contributor for the Jaguars.
"It's a business, and they're moving in a different direction, and I get that," Jones-Drew said. "Players are asked to be loyal, but the team has never been loyal to you. I led the league in rushing, my foot breaks and I come back out of shape to do the best I can to help the team.
"I gave them eight years. And then they just wash their hands of you."
Now, a fresh start. Jones-Drew joins Darren McFadden in Oakland's backfield. A time-share is logical, but Jones-Drew isn't conceding anything.
"But first, we're going to compete," Jones-Drew said. "Let's see if someone can win the job. I expect us both to be better coming out of training camp because of that competition. It's going to be fun. There's no reason we can't be one of the best 1-2 punches in the league."
It's easy to dismiss MJD and McFadden as a combination merged beyond their expiration dates. But the flip side of this scenario -- in which both players stay healthy and regain their former form -- has the potential to make the Raiders' offense dangerous.
It's a one-year experiment that makes sense for everyone involved.