Sunday, December 15, 2013
Todman gives Jags something to consider
By Michael DiRocco
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars' final games of the 2013 season are really more about evaluation than victories.
It's ideal to be able to do both, but it's more important for general manager David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley to be able to evaluate some of the younger players on the roster as they continue to reshape and rebuild the franchise. Are they worth keeping or should the Jaguars (4-10) go in a different direction?
The first-year running back, pressed into his first start because of Maurice Jones-Drew's hamstring injury, responded with 153 all-purpose yards in the Jaguars' 27-20 loss to Buffalo in front of 60,085 at EverBank Field on Sunday. It was a performance that showed he can be a role player -- and possibly even more -- in 2014.
Jordan Todman rushed for 109 yards and added another 44 yards receiving against Buffalo.
"It's up to them and it's their decision, but I want to be able to do what I have to do, whatever they need me, whatever it takes," Todman said. "If it's a couple carries, if it's 20 carries, any opportunity that I get I'm thankful and blessed to have it.
"I'm a believer that everything happens for a reason and today was a perfect example. I had that opportunity to do that and when my time comes I'm going to work hard and make sure I'm ready for it."
Todman rushed for 109 yards on 25 carries and caught four passes for 44 yards, but it was his timing that should have Caldwell and Bradley intrigued. Todman made big plays on three of the Jaguars' four scoring drives:
He had a 16-yard run on second-and-13 to extend a drive that ended with Josh Scobee's 32-yard field goal.
He had a 33-yard run on second-and-10 on the second play of a drive that ended with Scobee's 55-yard field goal.
Todman's biggest play of the day was a 30-yard catch-and-run on third-and-12 to the Buffalo 14-yard line to set up Chad Henne's 13-yard touchdown pass to Marcedes Lewis to tie the game at 20-20 early in the fourth quarter.
Todman's teammates were not surprised at what he did against the Bills. He led the team in rushing in the preseason and they have watched him do some of those things in practice. Rushing for more than 100 yards, which Jones-Drew had done just once in the previous 13 games, was a bit of an eye-opener, though.
"Ever since he's been here he's played hard," left tackle Cameron Bradfield said. "Never takes plays off and very fast guy. I think he did -- I'm not going to say what we expected or what we thought he would do -- but good job by him today."
Does Sunday's performance mean Todman, who had 138 yards on 43 carries coming into the day, is going to be the Jaguars' feature back in 2014? No, but it does show that he can shoulder a bigger load as a complementary back. Jones-Drew's contract expires after this season and the Jaguars are interesting in re-signing the franchise's second all-time leading rusher.
Jones-Drew will be 29 next season and his body is starting to wear down, so it'd be best to have another back capable of sharing carries closer to a 50-50 split. Todman made his case Sunday to be that back.
"I feel like this has been my dream to one day be a starter and I've been putting in the work throughout preseason and throughout the season," Todman said. "You see what you can showcase and kind of say the sky's the limit and try not to give yourself a set goal and just kind of let the chips fall as they go."
Bradley was pleased with what he saw from Todman, especially in the second half when he ran for 73 yards on 14 carries. Bradley said he was eager to see how Todman handled the bigger workload because he has only had one game in which he has carried the ball more than seven times (11 against Houston on Nov. 24).
"He's had six, eight carries, now he was going to get a lot more," Bradley said. "So that's what we concentrated on as a staff and said this game presents opportunities for a lot of these young guys for us to evaluate where they are and how they're going to fit in. And I think that guys took advantage of that."