Jaguars’ Jones-Drew out vs. Packers
The Jacksonville Jaguars had two huge setbacks in Oakland.
They lost star running back Maurice Jones-Drew early and a 14-point lead late.
How they handle both could determine whether the Jaguars (1-5) recover from the one of the worst starts in franchise history.
Jones-Drew injured his left foot on the first play of Sunday’s 26-23 loss to the Raiders in overtime. He wasn’t able to play through the pain and spent the second half on crutches and wearing a protective boot.
Coach Mike Mularkey said Monday that Jones-Drew will be sidelined at least for Sunday’s game at Green Bay, maybe longer.
”I was just disappointed that he didn’t get a chance to really show his stuff out there because I felt like that he was going to have a good game for us,” Mularkey said.
Mularkey said the injury is serious enough that it could keep MJD sidelined for an extended period. Mularkey said team doctors haven’t ruled out the possibility of a Lisfranc injury.
”That’s the initial diagnosis on it,” Mularkey said.
Jones-Drew leads the team with 414 yards rushing. Rashad Jennings will start in his place against the Packers.
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert, meanwhile, could be back after leaving Sunday’s game with an injured non-throwing shoulder. Gabbert completed 8 of 12 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game. The Jaguars were mostly inept after Gabbert left the game.
Backup Chad Henne completed 9 of 20 passes for 71 yards and was sacked three times. Jennings, meanwhile, ran 21 times for 44 yards and a touchdown.
Henne played about like he did in training camp and the preseason, creating more questions about what general manager Gene Smith saw to give the former Miami Dolphins starter a two-year contract worth $6.75 million in March.
With Henne directing the show, Jacksonville managed less than 60 yards.
”Sporadic, basically like our offense,” Mularkey said. ”We were very inept yesterday in a lot of the things we did. A lot of frustrating things offensively. We’ve got to protect him obviously better. He had some chances finally to throw the ball down the field and he got real clean runners right at him where he had no chance.
”It’s hard to give a guy a grade when the protection is not up to the standards that we need to win.”
Despite all the offensive problems, the Jaguars built a 20-6 lead in the third quarter.
Jacksonville took advantage of a muffed punt and an interception to go up early. Another fumble in the fourth quarter led to a field goal and a 10-point lead.
But the Jaguars couldn’t hold, struggling to move the chains on offense and failing to get off the field on defense.
The Raiders scored the final 10 points in regulation to force overtime. Cecil Shorts III fumbled on the opening drive of overtime, setting up Sebastian Janikowski’s 40-yarder for the victory.
”Everybody’s got to do their job,” Mularkey said. ”Again, when plays are there to be made, we have to make some of those plays.”
Too many players were unsuccessful Sunday.
Rookie receiver Justin Blackmon didn’t turn around soon enough on two routes. Cornerback Aaron Ross was flagged for pass interference on a fourth-down play in the fourth quarter. The offensive line got beat routinely.
The one positive for Jacksonville was the pass rush. The Jaguars entered the game with a league-low three sacks, but sacked Carson Palmer twice and got decent pressure throughout the game. The defense also held Darren McFadden to 53 yards rushing.
”I’d say the best (game) for the D-line,” Mularkey said. ”I thought they did a lot of good things. That’s a dangerous running back and we were concerned about them trying to establish the run based on what we’ve done early on. I thought we stifled it early enough that they kind of got away from it. It had a lot to do with our line really setting the edges.”