- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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So Jacksonville officially has depth concerns at running back.
Maurice Jones-Drew is coming off knee surgery and did little in the preseason, appearing only in the finale. The team has talked about lightening his load, and the primary guy to do that was going to be Jennings.
Deji Karim is a nice change-up back, but the team could now look for a bigger guy as insurance for Jones-Drew, and to take some of his work on first and second down.
Jacksonville media pressed Jack Del Rio recently about the running back plan if Jennings wasn’t ready for the Sept. 11 opener against the Titans.
Here’s that exchange:
If Rashad Jennings is not ready for the opener, how confident are you in Deji Karim to be the backup? Talk about him and his readiness if he has to be the number two guy.
Del Rio: "I feel great about our backfield. I think we have depth. I think we have productive guys that will step up and play big for us. Deji is one of them. I think you’ll see an increased role with Montell (Owens), an increased role with Brock (Bolen). But Deji in particular has been very explosive this preseason. He’s got some real quicks, he’s got great vision and he’s been improved in all facets of his game. And the thing that stands out is the explosive element that he brings."
“Yes, they’ll be involved.”
What’s your thinking there?
“Just using our talent, just using the players we have.”
So does that mean Maurice Jones-Drew won’t have quite as many carries as he has in the past?
“No, that means that Maurice is still going to get his load but the question was asked if Rashad is not able to go, how will we fill that and I spoke about that.”
So Deji Karim, Brock Bolen and Montell Owens will be the backups?
“Yeah, we like the whole group top to bottom.”
It’s hard to get excited about carries for Owens, a fullback who works as a special-teams ace or Bolen, also a fullback. Surely it was an oversight that Del Rio didn’t mention a longtime favorite, starting fullback Greg Jones. Frankly, no team should ever carry three fullbacks.
The Jaguars need a second or third option who's spent time carrying the ball.