The 2012 NFL season was one to forget for the Jacksonville Jaguars. A season that started off with a lengthy holdout by running back Maurice Jones-Drew, and from there went on to a 2-14 season and with that a cleaning of house on the coaching staff. For Jones-Drew, his season started late, and ended early with a broken foot after only six games. But in those six games, Jones-Drew still finished first on the team in rushing with 414 yards and a 4.8 yards per carry average.
This season however, things look like they could get very good for Jones-Drew. The Jaguars have a new offensive coordinator, Jedd Fisch, and he is bringing with him a zone blocking scheme. We all understand what a zone blocking scheme is as it is mentioned at nearly every opportunity when discussing the Houston Texans and the Washington Redskins – two teams who just happen to be among the best rushing teams in the league.
Jones-Drew has more than enough talent to excel in this system, assuming the offensive line is up to the task.
To take this a little further, assuming his rehab goes well, Jones-Drew should be able to top his career best season of 1,606 rushing yards. The zone blocking scheme counts on having athletic blockers who can get to an area and do so in a hurry. If they do, Jones-Drew is the type of back who will be able to attack those running lanes and get downfield in a hurry. But if they can’t, he’s going to take a beating.
It’s not certain if the offensive line will be able to hold up their end of the bargain, but I am optimistic that new head coach Gus Johnson knows what he’s doing and will be sure to get the offensive line in order. That’s a huge part of what made the Seattle Seahawks so successful last season, and Johnson is going to want to bring that same philosophy to the Jaguars rushing game.