Skip to main content

Jags' Jones-Drew insists best is yet to come after subpar start

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew stirred up his fantasy football league Wednesday with talk he was ready to trade his best player.

He got some offers, even a couple of intriguing ones.

But Jones-Drew wasn't quite ready to give up on his top draft pick.

"I'm not trading myself," Jones-Drew said.

And neither should anyone else, Jones-Drew insisted. Jacksonville's star player believes he's on the verge of a breakout game, maybe even Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles (1-1).

"It should pop sooner or later, hopefully sooner for my sanity," said Jones-Drew, who missed part of practice Wednesday because of an ankle injury.

Jones-Drew has been mostly bottled up in Jacksonville's first two games. He ran 12 times for 31 yards Sunday at San Diego, the eighth time in the past nine games that he has been held to fewer than 100 yards.

He carried 23 times for 98 yards in the opener against Denver, but 34 of those came in the fourth quarter as the Broncos started showing signs of wilting in Florida's heat and humidity. Before that late spurt, Jones-Drew averaged 3.8 yards a carry.

He averaged 2.6 yards a carry against the Chargers.

"Teams have been doing a lot of good things against us by stacking the box," Jones-Drew said. "We've been close a couple of times, but we're just going to keep working at it."

Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter counted 11 consecutive plays in which San Diego put eight defenders near the line of scrimmage and had one of the them blitzing running plays.

How do the Jaguars (1-1) counter that?

"Defenses are going to be stacked until we make them hurt for being stacked," coach Jack Del Rio said.

That's where quarterback David Garrard comes in. Garrard played one of his worst games against the Chargers, throwing four interceptions, getting sacked twice and missing two shots deep.

"You hit on a couple of those and they'll loosen up a little bit," Del Rio said. "Until you hit on some of those, they'll be packed in there."

In his first season as the starter, Jones-Drew ran for a career-high 1,391 yards and 15 touchdowns. He did it behind two rookie offensive tackles and a guard coming off reconstructive knee surgery.

Although some expected even more success in 2010, others questioned whether Jones-Drew's 312 carries -- plus his 53 receptions and all those shots he takes while blocking on other passing downs -- would take a toll on his body.

It became even more of a topic when Jones-Drew missed the final two preseason games because of some soreness in his sometimes-balky left knee.

Jones-Drew has repeatedly insisted his knee is fine.

Maybe so, but he hasn't scored a touchdown on the ground through two games and has only one rush longer than 10 yards.

"We need some explosiveness out of our backfield," Del Rio said. "We'd like to get Maurice going. That's definitely something we'd all benefit from."

Jones-Drew and the Jaguars have been relatively slow starters on the ground.

Former Jaguars star Fred Taylor gained most of his 11,271 career yards after October, and none of Jones-Drew's 12 100-yard rushing games came in the first two games of any season. Week 3 has been a different story, with Jones-Drew posting 100 games in three of his four previous years.

This could be his week.

"Obviously I'm upset about my performance, and a lot of guys are as well," Jones-Drew said. "We kind of got a little bit out of whack as an offense in San Diego. Everybody is excited about coming back and starting over."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.