Injuries have played a prominent role in the struggles of the Jacksonville Jaguars this season.
Perhaps the biggest injury was suffered two weeks ago when running back Maurice Jones-Drew left after the second play of the Oakland Raiders game with a foot sprain that has kept him out of the last two games. On Monday, Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey ruled Jones-Drew out for this Thursday’s game at home against the Indianapolis Colts, but left the door open for his return in two weeks when the Jaguars travel to play the Houston Texans on November 18.
Many believed that Jones-Drew’s injury would open the door for his backup, Rashad Jennings, to emerge in the role of the featured running back. However,Jennings has struggled as the lead back, carrying the ball 50 times over the last three games with only 148 rushing yards. At slightly less than three yards per carry,Jennings has failed to fill the massive void left by Jones-Drew’s absence.
Without Jones-Drew, the Jaguars have attempted to throw the ball more. Despite picking up his first career 300-yard passing game last week against the Green Bay Packers, second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert has struggled to consistently move the ball without the threat of Jones-Drew lurking in the Jaguars backfield.
Despite Mularkey’s optimism about Jones-Drew’s injury, he was still sporting a walking boot and crutches on the sideline during the Jaguars 31-14 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Most experts suggest that a foot sprain the nature of Jones-Drew’s would require at least four weeks to heal, meaning that he most likely will not be ready until after they play the Texans in two weeks.
Jones-Drew has a history of playing through injuries, so I would not rule anything out.