A Forgettable 2012 Season
Maurice Jones-Drew's 2012 season was easily his most forgettable from a statistical standpoint. First, he held out for 38 days, and did not report to the Jaguars until September 3. That negatively impacted his effectiveness at the onset of the year, as he only played in six contests before a foot issue (Lisfranc) prematurely ended his season. He only managed 414 yards on 86 attempts, which was easily the lowest output of his career. It also snapped a streak of three years with at least 1,324 yards, including a career best of 1,606 that he attained in 2011. And the 500 total yards that he manufactured were well below the 1,795 that he averaged from 2009-2011.
Questions Remain In 2013
It would ease concerns if Jones-Drew was currently in excellent condition, and ready to resume the consumption of mammoth yardage totals that occurred before last year's disappointing developments. But in fact, he was out of shape for the recent OTAs, and will also miss the Jaguars’ mini-camp. All due to the often lengthy rehabilitation process that is involved with his particular type of foot injury. He is also dealing with allegations that he hit a security officer on May 26, which was part of an altercation that he was involved with that night. These are not exactly the offseason results that fantasy owners would prefer as they make draft day preparations.
Career At A Crossroads
If Jones-Drew is healthy throughout the regular season, then he should deliver far better numbers this year. Although even then, it is reasonable to question whether or not he can return to a spot among the elite. It will be difficult for him to run for 1,300+ yards as he did his most productive seasons (2009-2011). Because those totals were generated as he carried the ball 954 times during that span. It is highly possible that his workload will be far less extensive, similar to the initial three years of his career. At that time, he averaged 177 attempts per season while sharing touches with Fred Taylor. Again, it is largely dependent upon how extensively he is impacted by the foot issue. The words “significant” and prolonged recovery” are used frequently when Lisfranc injuries are discussed by medical personnel, and that should create unease for fantasy owners.
The Jaguar Offense Has Other Playmakers
There is some additional talent on the Jaguar offense, as two young wideouts emerged after MJD was sidelined last season. The big play ability of Cecil Shorts will force opponents to account for him, and that should help open up lanes for MJD. As should the presence of Justin Blackmon on the opposite side of the field from Shorts. However, Blackmon must serve a four game suspension before he can line up for Jacksonville, and then must avoid any further issues. Once he does return, the talented WR tandem could be underutilized because of shortcomings at the QB position. Blaine Gabbert has essentially proven that he is not a legitimate NFL starter. And even though Chad Henne did enhance the passing attack in 2012 by successfully executing more deep throws, he is hardly a consistent answer at the position. Continued struggles by Gabbert and Henne will create massive challenges for the offensive unit as it attempts to sustain drives. Which of course will adversely affect MJD’s ability to collect yardage.