JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 11: Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars celebrates following a touchdown during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at EverBank Field on December 11, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew continues to lead the NFL in rushing on one of the worst passing offenses in the NFL. Is he worthy of offensive player of the year consideration?
The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off a 41-14 blow out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in a game in which running back Maurice Jones-Drew scored four total touchdowns. Jones-Drew ended the day with 27 carries for 85 yards with 6 receptions for 51 yards, getting in the end zone twice on the ground and twice catching the football. The game Jones-Drew as the NFL's leading rusher, with 1,222 yards on the ground for the season with seven rushing touchdowns. Jones-Drew has done all of this on a team whose passing offense ranks dead last in the NFL, averaging just 140.8 yards per game in the air.
What Jones-Drew has been able to do this season is beyond impressive. He leads the NFL in rushing on an offense that really has no offensive threat outside of Jones-Drew. Team defenses game plan to take Jones-Drew out of the game, but it simply doesn't work. On the season, Jones-Drew averages 4.4 yards per carry with just 7 carries of 20+ yard gains. This means that Jones-Drew is literally getting 4 to 5 yards a rush against run heavy fronts. With Jones-Drew's success against teams keying in on stopping him, is Jones-Drew worthy of Offensive Player Of The Year?
While it' s hard to justify giving that type of award to a player whose team won their fourth game of the season in Week 14, sit back and look at Jones-Drew's numbers, how they came about, and how impressive what he's doing is. Some have jokingly made the case for Peyton Manning as an MVP candidate, given how bad the Indianapolis Colts have been. While there's no legitimate chance Manning wins the MVP and is just more to point at how much he meant to the Colts, Jones-Drew means just as much to the Jaguars. The next leading rusher on the team, Deji Karim, has just 124 yards averaging 2.0 yards per carry and has been woefully ineffective to the point of being replaced by a running back from the Jaguars practice squad.
How many other teams in the NFL would be completely lost offensively with the loss of just a single player?