Rashad Jennings Reportedly May Start Week 1 in Place of Maurice Jones-Drew

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 10:  Running back Rashad Jennings #23 of the Jacksonville Jaguars rushes upfield in the first quarter against the New York Giants in a pre-season football game August 10, 2011 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IAugust 27, 2012

In the wake of Maurice Jones-Drew's holdout, the Jacksonville Jaguars have announced Rashad Jennings may be their starting running back in Week 1, according to Michael Fabiano of

Fabiano tweeted on Monday:

Report: Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey says Rashad Jennings will start in Week 1 regardless of MJD's status.

— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) August 27, 2012


It must be noted that one report from Gene Frenette of has head coach Mike Mularkey saying, "I expect Rashad [Jennings] will start, we'll just have to see." There may still be a chance that Jones-Drew starts in Week 1.

Jones-Drew recently said he would be open to a trade, according to ESPN. It comes after owner Shad Khan was quoted as saying, "Train's leaving the station. Run, get on it."

Well, it appears Jones-Drew may have missed the train in Jacksonville, at least for the time being. Despite rushing for over 1,600 yards and eight touchdowns last season, he has been replaced in Week 1 by a third-year pro who has 123 carries in his NFL career.

While Jennings is no Jones-Drew by any means, keep in mind that the Jaguars have been impressed with his work recently. He rushed for 57 yards on 13 carries in the Jaguars' preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens last Thursday.

Before missing all of last season on injured reserve, he rushed for 459 yards (averaging 5.5 yards per carry) in 2010 while adding four touchdowns on the ground. He also racked up 223 receiving yards. 

Jones-Drew has two years remaining on a five-year, $31 million contract. Given he led the NFL in rushing yards last season, he's been holding out for a better deal.

The Jaguars' decision on Monday makes it clear that they aren't going to bow to Jones-Drew's demands and makes it more likely that the three-time Pro Bowler is traded.

Although Jennings has had a solid preseason, it must be noted that this will make it more difficult for second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert to succeed in Jacksonville. He's coming off a disappointing rookie campaign and he completed just 11-of-21 passes against the Ravens last Thursday.

Regardless of what happens with Jones-Drew, the Jaguars have a ways to go before they can be called a legitimate contender in the National Football League.


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