August 23, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings (23) runs for a gain against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE
As the Jacksonville Jaguars prepare for their matchup with the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday evening, head coach Mike Mularkey confirmed that as it stands right now, running back Rashad Jennings will be the Week 1 starter against the Minnesota Vikings.
"Yes. I would say that," Mularkey told reporters on Monday after practice when asked if Jennings would start Week 1 of the regular season.
"Again, Rashad Jennings is going in as a starter," Mularkey said when asked about Maurice Jones-Drew's playing time. "I don’t know how that came out being any different. I think what I said was I’ve never been in this situation before where any player, let alone a running back, has held out through training camp. I don’t know how it will all unfold. The conditioning, the mental part, I have no idea. I have nothing to compare it to."
Jennings has for the most part been the best offensive player through training camp and the preseason, picking up 175 yards on the ground in 36 carries. His play and the development of Blaine Gabbert thus far have seemingly lowered the stress missing Maurice Jones-Drew would have put on the offense. The coaching staff feels they'll be just fine with Jennings, however.
"I think he can be a really good football player. A really good back," said Mularkey. "From what I’ve seen on tape before I got here and what I’ve seen in person I’d say we’ll be ok."