<
>

Maurice Jones-Drew ready for any workload

9/4/2013

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has no idea what kind of workload to expect this season.

But the 2011 NFL rushing champion says he’s ready if offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch wants to give it to him 30 times a game -- or spread out the carries among the other backs and Denard Robinson.

"As many as it takes," Jones-Drew said. "I think throughout camp I’ve kind of got my conditioning up. I feel great."

Jones-Drew, who led the NFL in rushing with 1,606 yards, missed the final 10 games of last season with a Lisfranc injury. The Jaguars eased him back during training camp, limiting his reps and carries in the games. It was a tough at first for Jones-Drew because it was the first time he had really stressed his foot.

There were days when there was a lot of pain and Jones-Drew found himself wondering if it was worth it anymore. Then the pain would ease and he wondered why he would have even considered not playing.

"There were a couple days during camp where I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore,’ " Jones-Drew said. "Once the pain subsides and the soreness goes away, you’re ready to roll again and you fought through those first couple of weeks.

"Now I feel good and I’m just ready to get out there and play."

It will be interesting to see how Fisch separates the work among the backs. Jones-Drew would love to be the workhorse, but the Jaguars do have more options in the backfield now than they’ve had since Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor were backfield mates.

The Jaguars signed unrestricted free agent Justin Forsett in March to be Jones-Drew’s primary backup and a change-of-pace option. He has rushed for 1,661 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 100 passes for 768 yards and one touchdown and worked as a kickoff and punt returner in five seasons with Seattle, Indianapolis and Houston.

Forsett, however, missed all of camp with a toe injury that he suffered during the first live period of camp. Forsett has been limited in practice this week but head coach Gus Bradley and Fisch said they know what Forsett can do and aren’t worried that he hasn’t gotten a lot of work.

Forsett’s injury allowed first-year player Jordan Todman to get more playing time and he certainly took advantage of it. He was the Jaguars’ leading rusher in the preseason (223 yards) and was impressive enough that he earned a spot on the roster and a chance to get some work in games.

In addition, the Jaguars drafted Denard Robinson in the fifth round and have converted him from a quarterback to what they call an offensive weapon. He’ll take snaps out of the wildcat formation and will carry the ball and catch passes out of the backfield as a running back.

Those other players will most certainly cut into Jones-Drew’s workload. He averaged 318 carries per season from 2009-11 but with so many other options it would be a surprise if had that many in 2013.