Jaguars want more from sputtering running game Print
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Monday, 17 September 2007 13:17
NFL Headline News

 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -Running back Maurice Jones-Drew has little concern about Jacksonville's offensive problems.
The Jaguars have scored just 23 points and haven't shown the same kind of running attack that made Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor one of the top tandems in the league last season.
But Jones-Drew said the offense will get on track - and soon.
``Oh, it's coming,'' Jones-Drew said Monday. ``We just have to be patient with it.''
Only three teams have scored fewer points than Jacksonville (1-1) through two games. The Jaguars believe finding a rhythm running the ball is the key to turning that around.
The Jags have 188 yards rushing in two games, well off last season's average of 158.8 yards a game. But Jones-Drew said it was too early to panic.
He might be right.
Last season, the Jaguars had the same number of yards rushing through two games. They broke out of the slump at Indianapolis in Week 3, hardly slowed down the rest of the season and finished with a franchise-record 2,541 yards on the ground.
``We have a pretty high standard,'' coach Jack Del Rio said. ``We want to be very efficient running the football. We want to see it here. We want to see it now. We recognize that we've made some progress. We need to continue to grow and get better as we continue on through the year.''
The Jaguars, who play at Denver (2-0) on Sunday, ranked third in the league in rushing last season - behind only San Diego and Atlanta. Taylor had 1,146 yards and five touchdowns, and Jones-Drew was one of the most surprising rookies with 941 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Nonetheless, the team lost its final three games and missed the playoffs. Del Rio then fired offensive coordinator Carl Smith, replaced him former Arizona State head coach Dirk Koetter and insisted that the focus would still be on the running game.
That wasn't the case in the opener as the Jaguars ran the ball just 17 times for 75 yards. They were more balanced in Sunday's 13-7 victory against Atlanta, running 34 times for 113 yards.
Del Rio said the team nearly broke several long ones and added that timing might still be an issue.
``There were several examples where we were a half-man short from it being a breakout run as opposed to it being a 1- or 2-yard gain,'' he said. ``Those are the things you work on getting. You work to have that explosive ability in your running game, and we've come up just a little bit short on a couple of them.''
Del Rio, Taylor and Jones-Drew also said defenses weren't doing anything different from what they did last season.
``They played the same exact scheme: put eight in the box and make us pass, try to scare us from running,'' Jones-Drew said. ``But we're going to run the ball regardless. It doesn't matter how many people you put in the box. You can put eight, nine guys in the box and we can still run the ball.''
At least they could last year.
But the Jaguars let blocking tight end Kyle Brady leave via free agency and signed Tony Pashos to a big contract in hopes of solidifying the line and running the ball even better.
So far, the results have shown little improvement. David Garrard has been sacked seven times, and the Jaguars are averaging 3.7 yards a carry - down from 5.0 in 2006.
``We're not proficient right now with (the running game),'' Del Rio said. ``It's coming along. It's not where it should be yet.''
 

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