The Jaguars running back recorded 17 carries for 59 yards and six receptions for 56 yards against the Green Bay Packers, putting up solid numbers in his first start since Week 1, when he was rendered ineffective by a stout Minnesota Vikings defense.
With incumbent starter Maurice Jones-Drew out of the lineup for an indefinite period of time to nurse a foot injury, the coaching staff in Jacksonville is turning to Jennings. This is an offense that relies on the running game and short passes to the flats, as sophomore QB Blaine Gabbert has been nothing short of terrible during his time as the Jags starter.
As evidenced by Jennings’ 23 total touches and 115 yards during Week 8, the team is clearly going to allow whoever lines up in the backfield to get a chance to start. While the fourth-year man out of Liberty wasn’t exactly a human highlight reel in this game, he helped the lowly Jags mount an upset bid against the stout Packers in Lambeau Field.
Because of injuries to a number of star RBs that were picked in the first or second round due to guaranteed 20-plus touches per game, getting Jennings on the waiver wire represents extreme value. You are getting the same touches—if not more—than say DeMarco Murray would, with nearly the same chance of production.
With the Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills making up four of the next five opponents for the Jaguars, elite stats can even be expected from the second-string RB—as long as MJD is still sidelined.
One major area concern for Jennings’ owners is the fact that he has only scored once during the five games he has seen action, coming against the Oakland Raiders after he became the lead back due to MoJo’s injury.
To those concerned and to those doubting, there is little to suggest that Jennings will not find a way to score. The club might only have two touchdowns so far in 2012, but that number is bound to jump. Jax was tied for 23rd in the league in TD rushes last year, but still managed to garner nine.
It’s arguable that the Jags were much worse in 2011 than they are now, with defenses keying in on the running game and ignoring the pass. That may still be the case, but to a much lesser extent with Gabbert having another year of experience and Jennings not getting the respect that Jones-Drew receives.
As long as Jennings keeps going over 50 yards on both the air and ground, he’s bound to score at a high clip. Make sure you roster the Jags backup in all leagues and watch the points roll in.
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