I've heard some comments about getting Maurice Jones-Drew some help in the backfield for a myriad of reasons. Some seem to think that his durability will suffer if he keeps getting the number of carries he got this past year.
That may well be true, but then again he just came off of an injury (one for which he needed surgery no less) and won the NFL rushing title, made the AP All Pro squad as a starter, and was voted to his third straight Pro-Bowl. If the number of carries he's getting now is going to prevent him from putting up performances like that in the future, then I agree he needs someone to help him carry the load.
Other comments I've heard center on how he was caught from behind at least once this season (on what was a sure touchdown), and maybe a few other times. MJD being MJD, I tend to agree with the people who say that he was just out of gas from representing 45% of our total offense every game, and NOT that he has in fact lost a step. (Just a little fatigue from carrying Deji on his back all season).
What inspired me to write this post was the notion that we should draft a RB in the draft this April (I'll let y'all plug in whatever name you want, and the corresponding round). I'll say up front that if there is a RB who is BAP I fully expect Gene Smith to take him, just as his predecessor took MJD when we already had FREDDY T (crazy, right? ...Worked out fine by me though).
My response to this notion is that if you really think that MJD is going to be alone out there in 2012, with no one but a (promising, but not proven) Dujuan Harris to spell his name, you have some short memories.
Last year, we had a running tandem. Next year, it will be back. Rashad Jennings has speed to burn. This guy has spent the past three years at The Jones-Drew School of the Run-Busting Arts. His first two years coming off the bench speak for themselves.
Not bad for a seventh round, small school, Gene Smith pick, eh? Not to mention he passes the eye-test, that's for sure. If you saw him run at all the past two years, you know he's got serious talent.
No getting caught from behind, and no 3rd down face-plants (a la Karim). You may also remember from last season that MJD only fell short of the goal line on big runs when his down field blockers couldn't keep up with him. He wasn't getting chased down either, when he got a chance to catch a breather.
I don't pretend to know what happened to Jennings' knee this year, but seeing as he felt he didn't need to be put on IR, I'm sure he's healthy and chomping at the bit to get back on the field and earn that number 2 spot.
Moral of the story, kids, is that MJD, Jennings, Harris (assuming he stays) is going to be electric next year. Especially if Marcedes can make the catches from last year, like the one at 5:43 in the highlights from above, and we get ourselves a play-making Wideout to stretch the field and open up some running lanes.
Oh, and if Gabbert can step up. literally.