Person of Interest: Jaguars’ Maurice Jones-Drew
By Danny O’Neil
“Person of Interest” is a weekly feature in which we put the microscope on one player from the Seahawks’ upcoming opponent. This week, it’s Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew.
Maurice Jones-Drew said he expects to play Sunday despite an injured ankle. (AP)
Position: Pro Bowl running back, rebuilding hostage
Experience: Eighth season
He rushed for the second-most yards of any NFL player over the three seasons from 2009 through 2011, and the only thing more impressive than his three-year total of 4,321 yards in that time was his consistency. He gained more than 1,300 yards in each of those three seasons.
He held out of training camp heading into last year, then suffered a foot injury that limited him to six games and a single touchdown.
Not only is he off to a slow start, having gained 72 yards on 25 carries through two games, but he suffered an ankle injury in Oakland last Sunday. He said Wednesday he expects to play.
“I always plan to play,” Jones-Drew said. “Right now things are going well and we’re on schedule so we’ll just see how things go throughout this week, and we’ll see come a couple of days.”
Jones-Drew carried 12 times for 34 yards in his only game against the Seahawks since entering the league, a 41-0 Jaguars loss back on Oct. 11, 2009.
He’s the only real horsepower in this Jacksonville offense whose leading receiver is some guy named Cecil Shorts and whose only touchdown was scored by Clay Harbor, a tight end whose name sounds more like a city.
The team is searching for a quarterback, beginning the season with former first-round choice Blaine Gabbert as the starter only to lose him after Week 1 because of a laceration that required 15 stitches. Now, Chad Henne is under center, a quarterback in his seventh season with a career record of 14-24 as a starter.
The Jags have scored the fewest points in the league (11), gained the fewest yards (426) and Sunday in Seattle they will be the biggest underdog in the NFL up to this point. Given Jones-Drew’s history of productivity and his age, does that make rebuilding a tough sell?
“I’ve been through it twice before so it’s just one of those things that you have to go through and you have to embrace,” he said. “I understand that with a new GM and a new head coach, they’re going to want to bring their players in, obviously they want to bring in younger guys and so with those guys my job is to help in any way, shape or form I can.”