- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 13.
Coming out of training camp, Vince Manuwai’s stock was way down. He was a backup, with Justin Smiley starting at left guard for Jacksonville.
But Manuwai returned to the lineup Oct. 18 and has been a key element in the return to prominence of Jacksonville’s running attack. The Jaguars pride themselves on being physical, and when they are the more physical team, they are often the better team.
On Sunday in Nashville, Manuwai helped spearhead a 53-carry, 258-yard rushing game in a 17-6 win over the Titans that got the Jaguars to 7-5 and into first place in the AFC South.
Maurice Jones-Drew, who ran for 186 of those yards, was quick to share the acclaim with his line, tight ends and fullback.
“Without Vinny in the lineup, some of the stuff we are doing now wouldn’t be possible,” Jones-Drew said. “He doesn’t just move a guy 1 or 2 yards off the line. He moves him 4 or 5 yards, which makes it easier for me as a running back. You know you can get 4 or 5 yards when you are going to his side. He’s very physical and he always says, ‘Some people like to do other things, I like to block.’ Glad to have him on my side.”
Any lineman in the league would take satisfaction in hearing his running back talk about him like that.