This is an on going series of articles on key players for the Jaguars in 2009. What did they do right? What did they do wrong? Should we be happy with their performance? We'll look at that here.
With Fred Taylor's release last offseason, Maurice Jones-Drew became the man in the Jaguars backfield. We all knew Jones-Drew was great in the role he had previously, splitting carries with Taylor. However, could he hold up being a 16 game back? Rewarded with a new contract to go along with his new starting role, fans were confident MJD would keep things going like he had. However, were our fears justified?The Good
Maurice Jones-Drew had a monster year statistically. Rushing for over 1400 yards and 17 touchdowns, MoJo made the Pro Bowl in his first year as a starter. Not to mention his contributions in the passing game and his underrated skills as a blocker (unless you're Shawn Merriman) and it's easy to see why many Jags fans thought MJD was snubbed from the All-Pro team.
In addition, he has given Jacksonville it's first transcendental star since the glory days of the 90's. He was a Top 5 pick in every fantasy league and has been tied with endorsements with products as varied as Madden and Campbell's.
Like the rest of the team, Jones-Drew had a massive slide in the second half of the season. He only scored two rushing touchdowns in the final six games this season. In addition, he broke the 100 yard mark just once in the final seven games of the regular season.
This is all food for thought as the Jaguars go about their off season plans. Was Jones-Drew's drop off attributeable to David Garrard's fall from grace, tiring as the season wore on, or were defenses keying in on him that much? If it was the last option, what does that say about Jones-Drew? Players like Barry Sanders, Chris Johnson, and others were constantly one man shows and did well.
Maurice Jones-Drew had a good year as a starter, no matter how you want to slice it. When you make the Pro Bowl, there isn't much than people can say against you as a player. However, his late season slide is troubling, and will be something to watch for in the coming seasons.