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Thursday, November 28, 2013
Fewer carries nets bigger results for Jones-Drew

By Michael DiRocco

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Less was definitely more for Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew.

Head coach Gus Bradley and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch wanted to decrease Jones-Drew’s carries against Houston last Sunday in the hopes that it would keep him fresher and therefore result in better production.

It worked.

Jones-Drew ran for a season-high 84 yards on 14 carries and also had 60 yards on six catches for a season-high 144 all-purpose yards. Jordan Todman carried 11 times for 31 yards – both career highs – and the Jaguars ran for a season-best 118 yards.

More importantly, Jones-Drew was finally able to bust a big run, a 44-yarder to help set up a field goal.

"We spread the ball around well," Jones-Drew said. "Everybody got a chance to make plays. Come fourth quarter I was as fresh as I’ve ever been."

Jones-Drew still had 20 touches but said the six receptions didn’t take as much out of him physically because he didn’t have to fight through the line of scrimmage and get hit by several tacklers.

"I didn’t get as much of a pounding, not as much pounding as running up the middle," he said.

Fisch was obviously pleased with the production from the run game, especially because they finally got the explosive play they had been hoping to see. He also said it’s likely that Todman will continue to get around 10 carries per game the rest of the season.

"I think that would be a really good setup for us," Fisch said. "I felt we got the balance we wanted. We had three [explosive] plays and all the other runs were just for a couple of yards. But we had 70 yards in three plays and that’s kind of the way the run game goes and it goes like that everywhere. But it just happened to be one of those where Maurice was really able to break a few.

"I think he was able to stay fresh because of the fact that Todman did get a couple of those tough 7-yarders here and there."

When Bradley and Fisch first approached Jones-Drew with the idea of giving up some carries to Todman and Forsett, they weren’t sure how he would handle the idea. But any worries they had were soon put aside.

"Jedd met with him," Bradley said. "They just took a look at film and said, ‘Let’s take a look at this.  What do you think?’ And he was very open to it."

From 2009-2011, Jones-Drew carried the ball less than 15 times just four times in 46 games. After the victory over the Texans, Bradley used Jones-Drew’s sacrifice as an example for the rest of the team.

"It (sacrificing carries) was a genuine gift to the team and I told him after the game when it’s genuine like that sometimes it comes back two-fold," Bradley said. "Those are the messages we’re trying to send to our team and to make sure we capture them when something like that happens. It benefited the team and it benefited him."