Jaguars Notebook: Running game gets off to a sluggish start | jacksonville.com
Led by Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jaguars’ offense was 12th in rushing average last year at 123.1 yards per game. Against Minnesota on Sunday, the Jaguars gained 113 yards but averaged only 3.3 yards per attempt. They failed to reach that mark only once last season. Part of the problem was the operation in general. Jones-Drew was forced into near-regular duty because Rashad Jennings (knee) left for good in the second quarter and then the offensive line was in tumult because of injury.
NFL coaches are sticklers about not allowing hangovers to linger. So any self-pity the Jaguars might have felt over Sunday’s meltdown in the final 20 seconds of regulation against the Minnesota Vikings likely vanished when they woke up Monday. It’s time to move on to a new sobering reality: The Jaguars might have to switch gears and let a Blaine Gabbert-led offense carry the defense for a little while. Who could have imagined that kind of turnabout? Mel Tucker’s defense figured to do most of the heavy lifting in the early part of the 2012 season, allowing Gabbert and this retooled offense to grow with each other.
Mike Mularkey talked about it throughout the preseason. On Sunday, assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Mel Tucker mentioned it, and when cornerback Rashean Mathis on Monday was talking about the defensive effort in a 26-23 season-opening overtime loss to Minnesota, it was foremost on his mind. The subject: tackling.
A day later, Mike Mularkey said he was thankful for game film. Mularkey, in his first season as the Jaguars’ head coach, said while players were understandably disappointed with a 26-23 overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the regular-season opener Sunday, a review of the game revealed much with which to be pleased. Mainly, Mularkey said the Jaguars had every chance and reason to not be in Sunday’s game. That they were, Mularkey said, is a good thing.
As foot injuries mount for his Jaguars, Mike Mularkey’s wondering if the turf in Baltimore and Minnesota’s caused any other teams issues. "Yeah, I’m just trying to figure out where it’s coming from because it is an unbelievable amount of guys that have had that injury -- something different but that same part of the body," he told Jacksonville reporters Monday.