Is the Jaguars’ Problem…MJD?!?!?

Posted: April 23, 2012 in Jacksonville Jaguars
Tags: , , , , ,

Maurice Jones-Drew is the Jaguars best player. He is the team’s most popular player.

But is MJD hurting the Jaguars?

I say yes.

This opinion is meant is no way to criticize MJD. He, in fact, may be the NFL’s best running back. And that is the problem.

The NFL is a passing game. It is about having someone who can throw the ball, someone who can catch the ball, someone who can protect the man throwing the ball and someone who can knock down the man throwing the ball.

Any team who depends on running the ball for its major offensive weapon is a loser.

I’ve said for years running backs are among the least important players in the NFL. Okay, they’re more important than offensive guards and fullbacks and most inside linebackers, but nothing else. (Yes, kickers and punters are more important.) Now, I didn’t say the ability to run the ball when necessary – you know, 3rd-and-one, 1st-and-goal from the 2 — was unimportant, but you don’t need high paid stars for that. You need big bruisers or cat quick smaller guys who can slither through small openings. Running back by committee is the way of today’s successful NFL teams.

I wouldn’t draft the reincarnation of Jim Brown in the first two rounds if he was available.

This isn’t earth shattering news among NFL coaches and general managers. In today’s NFL, you pass to set up the occasional run, not the other way around.

The statistics bear it out. The Super Bowl champion New York Giants were last in the NFL in running last season. The mighty New England Patriots only run as a diversion. There are many other examples.

The major reason for the Jaguars’ offensive woes in recent years is MJD. He’s too talented and too established. I understand the problem Jack Del Rio had when he coached the team:  if you have MJD, how can you not give him the ball as often as possible?

When MJD’s new contract is due the Jaguars will be smart not to re-sign him unless he’s willing to agree to a relatively inexpensive, short term deal. The team needs to find out quickly if Blaine Gabbert can throw it effectively 30-plus times a game; if Laurent Robinson, Mike Thomas and Marcedes Lewis can consistently get open and catch the ball; if Eugene Monroe can be an elite left tackle.

Any more time counting on MJD to carry the offense means more seasons of losing.


  1. Jake Patrick says:

    This is a very interesting take, Mr. Lamm. However, I don’t think it’s ALL MJD’s fault. Let’s face it; the Jaguars haven’t had a QB since Brunell left years ago. We haven’t seen the likes of Jimmy Smith or Keenan McCardell in the same amount of time. One could argue that the Jaguars had to rely on MJD to put some points on the board. Yes, it is a passing league, but if the Jaguars had a respectable passing game then MJD would be icing on the cake. You cannot lay the proverbial blame for the offensive woes on MJD because Del Rio was “forced” to give him the rock. Koetter was touted as an offensive genius; perhaps he is – we will never know and maybe the Falcons will find out, but until the Jaguars decide to get serious about a passing game and stop drafting Division II WRs, then it doesn’t matter who is throwing the ball – MJD will be relied on to provide SOME offense. Sorry, but I have to disagree on this one. 🙂

  2. Wyman says:

    For sure without MJD the Jaguars would be drafting first or second in this year’s draft, so in that sense, you’re right! MJD may have cost them a shot at a superstar QB, if the draft experts are right. However, Blaine Gabbert would be headed back to Missouri or wherever he calls home, having had his career ended by injury, because a lack of even one quality receiver meant MJD was the only thing standing between Blaine Gabbert and a career-ending injury. I’m sure defenses would have tee’d off on Gabbert, without an MJD around to hand the ball to. Also, with a legitimate passing game, MJD could return kick-offs or punts, so he would still have great value for the Jaguars.

    I always felt David Garrard was a much better QB, when he was passing on the run, than when passing out of the pocket. Yet, receivers must catch the ball, when the ball is their to catch. Jaguars receivers appear to have dropped too many catchable balls, because they either heard the pitter-patter of feet coming up to slam them to the ground, or they imagined they heard the pitter-patter of feet headed their way. I can’t blame them for being human, but I can blame them for not being professional. MJD only makes it painfully obvious how bad the receivers are on the Jaguars. Even when everyone knows the ball is going to MJD, he gains yards, while receivers drop balls that are in their hands. Who was the last Jaguars wife receiver who started for a full season for any other NFL team, once he left the Jaguars? Keenan McCardell, may be the answer to that question. If so, that proves at best, Jaguar receivers have been no more than # 3 or # 4 receivers on any other NFL teams.

    But, back to your accusation, David: It does make one wonder what season ticket sales would look like for the Jaguars, if they were drafting first or second in this years draft. In that sense, MJD probably did the Jaguars no favors by playing so well last season. Even so, a franchise QB would need receivers to throw the ball to. Wonder if MJD has ever considered playing at wide receiver?

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