Jennings will once again be thrust into the spotlight this season after Jaguars star running back Maurice Jones-Drew was diagnosed earlier this week with a foot sprain that will keep him on the sidelines for several weeks.
Many believed that Jennings stood to benefit greatly from Jones-Drew’s contract holdout this preseason that he ended just prior to the start of the regular season. Unfortunately, despite starting the Jaguars season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, Jennings left the game early with a knee injury and Jones-Drew was able to retake his role as the featured runner in the Jaguars offense.
Since returning, Jennings had only played sparingly until Jones-Drew left last Sunday’s game after only the second play with his foot injury. In fact, he only had five carries in the two games he played in following his knee injury.
The talent is not the issue with Jennings. Those who saw him run the football towards the end of the 2010 season believed he was poised for a breakout season in 2011 before he injured his knee in the preseason and landed on the injured reserve list. It is whether or not he is able to flourish in the role of being a feature rusher getting 20-25 touches per game.
In fact, last Sunday against the Oakland Raiders was only the second time in Jennings career that he had more than 20 rushing attempts in a game.
Now, Jennings has the chance for an extended period of time to show the Jaguars how good he can be in a featured role, a priceless opportunity for a player who happens to be a free agent this offseason.