Maurice Jones-Drew is back and, as far as he is concerned, everything is back to normal. He’s made no apology and expressed no regret about his holdout. He still feels underpaid and disrespected.
He makes it perfectly clear is all about business and nothing more.
What he obviously doesn’t see is the business angle works both ways. The Jaguars clearly think NOT giving him more money and security is the correct business decision.
Now, what the future holds rests entirely in Jones-Drew’s hands – and on his legs. He’s an elite running back in a passing era. It has been proven that at his best the Jaguars are a 5-11 team.
Jones-Drew’s supporters point out the Jaguars are $28 million under the salary cap and are being cheap by not giving him more money. My response is why should any team pay a player more than it thinks he’s worth simply because it has the cap room? Just because you have $100 in your pocket doesn’t mean you should overpay for a hamburger.
For the fans, all of this becomes a moot point if the Jaguars win and Jones-Drew plays well. Otherwise, his days as the team’s most popular player are doomed.
Along that line, I don’t think he’s doing himself any favors with his new look. I’m certainly not at fashion or style expert, but the new scruffy-looking Jones-Drew isn’t nearly as charming and likable as the clean cut and always smiling old Jones-Drew.
The more immediate concern is how he’ll perform and fit in the Jaguars’ new offense under Coach Mike Mularkey. It is unreasonable to think he’ll be a major contributor in this Sunday’s season opener at Minnesota. It’s also unreasonable to think he’ll put up the kind of numbers he put up last season when he led the league in rushing. For one thing, he’ll get fewer carries with a healthy running mate in Rashad Jennings. For another, the Jaguars plan to throw the ball more with an improved quarterback in Blaine Gabbert and better receivers.
Bottom line is the love affair between MoJo and the Jaguars fans likely will never be as passionate as it was. That’s a shame because it sure was fun while it lasted.