If the Jaguars were opening the regular season this Sunday, Rashad Jennings would be the starting running back.
The Jags have two more weeks until they play a game that counts, though, and coach Mike Mularkey stopped short of saying that Jennings would be a starter when the team travels to Minnesota. That suggests Maurice Jones-Drew could still start the first game of the season if he ends his holdout and reports to the team.
Jones-Drew will have to get in pretty soon, though. He doesn’t have a playbook as a result of staying away from the Jaguars the entire offseason and Mularkey said that his chances of getting back into the starting lineup will be based on how quickly Jones-Drew picks things up upon his return to the team.
“It depends on him. What kind of shape he’s in. How fast he picks up the system. I’m not going to put him in a position where he has any chance to fail because in the long run, we all fail,” Mularkey said, via Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union. “I’m not going to expose him to failure. It’s not going to happen. If he’s ready and all those conditioning wise, and he picks it up immediately, the faster he can progress, yes. I don’t know where we’re at right now. I have no idea.”
When and if Jones-Drew comes back, the Jaguars should feel less pressure to rush him back into the lineup because of how Jennings has played this summer. They can split more of the workload than originally planned while they make sure that Jones-Drew is fully ready to reclaim his role in the team’s backfield.