Adrian Peterson, Jones-Drew ready to play Sunday, but how much?
Adrian Peterson is recovering from December knee surgery, while Maurice Jones-Drew is returning from a contract hold out situation. The Jaguars will definitely put Jones-Drew on the field. Adrian Peterson is another story.
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The 2011 standings, though, revealed a major flaw in the strategy. The Jaguars finished 5-11, and the Vikings matched their franchise-worst record at 3-13. No team passed for fewer yards in the NFL last year than the Jaguars. The Vikings weren't much better at fifth worst.Skip to next paragraph
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So are these teams stuck with their heads in the sand while the rest of the league is looking up, in the air? Or do they boast elite players at this still-important position who will continue to fuel team success provided the talent level in other places on the roster is improved?
Well, these guys have an answer, even if it's not objective analysis.
"At the end of the day being a player and understanding this league, balance is what helps win games," Jones-Drew said, pointing to the formula used down the stretch last season by the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. "As running backs we have to stick together because everybody is trying to devalue us and say we're not this or we're not that which is pretty funny."
Said Peterson of Jones-Drew: "He was their whole offense last year. So without him the Jaguars would've been terrible, just to be honest. So I feel like once he gets back into the rhythm, he's going to get his load in. God willing, I'll get mine as well."
One of the reasons teams have strayed from the featured, 30-carry-per-game runner is the short shelf lives most of them have. Peterson is starting his sixth year in the NFL, Jones-Drew his seventh. This, then, is supposed to be the back half of their careers. Jones-Drew, who led the league with 1,606 yards rushing last season, has averaged 318 carries plus 43 receptions over the last three years. So he has plenty of wear, a fact not lost on him when he asked the Jaguars to rework the final two seasons of his deal. They declined.
Peterson is coming off torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, a tough injury to recover from, especially for a running back. But another trait these guys have in common is a defiance so prevalent it might be strong enough to overcome any delusions about the state of the NFL and the hard living they must make at their position.
"If I can carry the ball 80 times in a game, I would carry it 80 times in a game," Jones-Drew said.
Peterson has often spoken with the same tones. Asked whether he believes he'll be the same player he was before he was hurt, he said no.
"I think I'll be better than I was before," Peterson said.
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