What if Maurice Jones-Drew is lost for the season?
By Matt Waldman
September 2nd, 2012

Maurice Jones-Drew is a sturdy warrior who has proven to work through injury and still perform as a productive fantasy starter. Despite a poor quarterback play, Jones-Drew managed to have his best rushing season to date in 2011. The Jaguars running back understandably wanted more money after his third consecutive season with at least 1,600 total yards. However, it's just as understandable that the Jaguars front office wasn't as willing to give big money to a 27 year-old running back with 1,084 touches during the past three seasons. Running backs that hold out tend to report to camp out of football shape. If Jones-Drew doesn't prove to be the Emmitt Smith-like exception to the rule, the Jaguars could lose its offensive centerpiece to injury. If it happens, Jacksonville's unproven passing game isn't the first place to seek compensating production.


Rashad Jennings, RB Jennings has feature back size and receiver-like hands. There was a time during former head coach Jack Del Rio's tenure that Jennings was considered to have the best hands on the team. The former Pitt and Liberty star also has lead back talent. He's a high-priority buy on a team that will need a strong running game in offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey's offensive system (think Atlanta with Michael Turner) to succeed.


Justin Blackmon, WR Blackmon is a strong runner after the catch and a physical player in the open field. The Jaguars may increase the frequency of its short routes to get Blackmon the ball as a space runner.

Blaine Gabbert, QB If you bought into the idea of Gabbert improving in Year Two, then hang onto the quarterback. He's been working without Jones Drew the entire preseason and has shown demonstrative improvement in the pocket. He's a young, athletic quarterback with a strong arm and head coach Mike Mularkey has a knack for getting the most from his quarterbacks. Rashad Jennings is good enough to keep defenses honest as a runner, which should give Gabbert a fighting chance to maintain QB2 production.


Laurent Robinson, WR Personally, we don't think there's a great market for any component in the Jacksonville passing game at this point of the preseason. However, if Robinson plays well enough before Jones-Drew gets hurt or displays something in the preseason that generates a modicum of excitement, he's the player with the most proven value in the Jaguars passing game. He's also the player we expect to see suffer the most if the play action component of the passing game disappears if Jones Drew gets hurt.


Chad Henne QB One thing that Henne has that Gabbert hasn't shown in the NFL is the ability to stand tall in the pocket and get creamed while delivering the ball down field. If the Jaguars lose Jones-Drew and Gabbert doesn't produce on viable play action opportunities, Henne could find his way into the line up and generate reasonably good production as a bye-week quarterback. He's a mistake-prone player, but he'll also wing it down field, which could keep fantasy owners from selling Robinson.



Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to waldman@footballguys.com.

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