As the holdout of the NFL’s rushing champ approaches three weeks, the official T-shirt slogan for the effort should be: Jones-Drew Who?
Having a low national profile in what ultimately is an entertainment industry ordinarily is a bad thing. The Jacksonville Jaguars benefit from it this time around, as it relates to the standoff with their star tailback.
Think about it for a second. The guy who ran for more yards than any other player in 2011, for an offense with no discernible passing game, has gotten scant notice for the fact that he hasn’t shown up for training camp, even though he’s under contract for two more years.
If Jones-Drew played for almost any other team (with the exception of a small handful that we won’t list because I really don’t need to have my inbox clogged with email from their
thousands hundreds dozens of fans), this would be a much bigger deal. If the Jaguars had been the subject of this year’s Hard Knocks, it would be a huge deal. If he played for one of the franchise located in the northeast portion of the I-95 Corridor, it would be the lead story on every national sports show, radio and TV. [Editor's note: I had to add "northeast" because Jaguars fans who could find nothing else in the article to complain about felt compelled to point out that I-95 goes through Jacksonville. I meant the stretch of I-95 that runs from Washington to Boston.]
This all helps the Jaguars. They face little or no criticism. Instead (and as MDS pointed out in today’s one-liners), the Jags are firming up the depth chart for when they start the regular season without him.
Hell, coach Mike Mularkey is even saying that Jones-Drew won’t automatically be put on the field when he returns. “Even if he is in good condition,” Mularky said, “he won’t be in football condition. As guys have found out, it’s hard to practice their condition 2- 1/2 hours like we do out here.”
Making it even worse for Jones-Drew is that the normally loquacious tailback has kept quiet. Though it’s the smart approach when others are talking about the situation, Jones-Drew’s silence is contributing to the vacuum.
If, after all, Jones-Drew were talking, there would at least be a reason for the talking heads to talk about him.
For now, then, the advantage remains with the Jaguars. At a time when both sides have staked out positions that leave no middle ground, there’s Jags feel no external pressure to blink. Which means that there’s plenty of internal pressure on Jones-Drew — especially since he’s racking up $30,000 per day in fines.