Entering the 2009 season, the Jaguars were going back to a one back system. After Maurice Jones-Drew was Fred Taylor's understudy for three seasons, it was his time to shine. In the first eight games of the season, Jones-Drew played like he was shot out of a cannon. He was on pace to shatter the Jaguars single season rushing record and to challenge LaDainian Tomlinsons single season touchdown record. However, since that point Maurice Jones-Drew has become less effective.
In the Jaguars last 12 games, Jones-Drew only has had two hundred yard rushing efforts and 4 rushing touchdowns. Some of this has been by design, but it still seems as if MJD hasn't quite been his explosive self. With the emergence of Deji Karim and Rashad Jennings, will the Jaguars head back to a backfield by committee?
First, make no mistake, Jones-Drew is still the main man in the backfield and will be treated as such. However, it is clear the Jaguars are looking for find some other pieces. If the Jaguars are so gung ho and running the ball between 30 and 40 times the game as they've done recently, they are going to have to need Karim and Jennings to get 10 or so touches each. There isn't a single running back in the league who can absorb that amount of punishment.
Rashad Jennings has been getting an increased workload and has begun to show he deserves some more carries. Deji Karim's 15 carries in Buffalo is the best example so far of the Jaguars looking to spread the ball around. With Karim also on kickoff duties, Jennings will most likely be getting most of the "spell" carries.
Heading into the Titans game, the Jaguars are going to need to run the ball effectively. It was there over reliance on the passing game that got them into so much trouble in Nashville last year.
Jones-Drew's decline in production took the rest of the offense down with it in the second half of 2009. With an ankle injury, and now a wrist injury, that could potentially linger, it's best to limit the amount of carries MJD has at this point.
He is still this team's best offensive weapon, but Jennings and Karim look like they can be adequate replacements. In fact, they'll have to be if the Jaguars want to go anywhere this season.