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Jaguars' Bratkowski: MJD's absence 'not helping him'

As the Jacksonville Jaguars press on with this week's voluntary practices, Maurice Jones-Drew remains a no-show.

The team's workhorse back reportedly wants a new deal, but the Jaguarsaren't itching to furnish him with one. On the field, coach Mike Mularkey and offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski are installing their new offense with MJD on the lam.

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"It's not helping him by not being here, he'll have a lot of learning to catch up on," Bratkowski told Tania Ganguli of The Florida Times-Union. "But yet, he's a gifted and talented player, and I'm sure he can get caught up. It's certainly not helping him. Whether it's hurting him or not, that remains to be seen."

It's too early to press the panic button. Jones-Drew owns the same limited playbook his teammates are learning from. We know from history that MJD takes care of himself in the offseason. When the lockout ended last summer, he showed up in top condition and proceeded to mow down opponents for 1,606 ground yards, best in the league. Holdouts and missing dates have sidelined some players, but Jones-Drew will be ready, even if he continues to receive tepid/vague praise from Mularkey:

"Since I haven't been around him to see how he responds to the terminology and the coaching I don't know," Mularkey said. "I'm assuming he'll be all right. If he knows the basics he'll at least not come in here stone cold."

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