The Jacksonville Jaguars are hoping that they can play Maurice Jones-Drew during at least one or two of the final regular season games in 2012. Not because they are fighting for a playoff spot, but rather to prove to other teams that he is healthy. That could lead to the Jaguars attempting to trade Jones-Drew after this season.
The Jags would like to see all go well when Jones-Drew tests out his injured foot at practice today, and then hope that the same occurs on Thursday and Friday. If all goes well, the Jaguars could insert Jones-Drew back into their lineup as soon as Sunday against the New England Patriots, a game which should ultimately result in another Jacksonville defeat.
Jones-Drew has missed the majority of the season after a lengthy holdout. While this injury to his foot likely had nothing to do with his not participating in training camp and much of the preseason, Jones-Drew did not help himself by sitting out so long. The Jaguars may be at the point where they realize that they are really not all that much better off even if Jones-Drew is on the field. He is certainly an upgrade over Rashad Jennings and Montell Owens, but maybe not enough of one, especially considering his lofty price tag.
The Jaguars may look to deal Jones-Drew even if he cannot suit up and play for them in Week 16 or 17. At this point, his status remains up in the air, much as it has throughout the entire season. If he is healthy enough to play, then expect the Jaguars to look to showcase him in a game or two to conclude the season. If he is not well enough, he will not play this season.
Of course, that may not prevent Jacksonville from trying to still trade its featured running back this offseason.
At this point, all the Jags have to play for is pride. And at 2-12, I’m not sure how much of that actually remains prevalent. The team plays its home games in front of a poor crowd and appears to be going nowhere fast.
Except, perhaps, to Los Angeles.
The best the Jags can hope for at this point is to have the Kansas City Chiefs somehow pull off a monumental upset and defeat the Indianapolis Colts or Denver Broncos to close out the season and win their third game of the year, while the Jaguars fall to the Patriots this Sunday and then to the Tennessee Titans the following weekend in order to lock up the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
It worked for the Colts last year, who dropped some winnable games down the stretch, let their top offensive player go, secured the top overall draft pick and are now in a position to make the playoffs the following season.
I am not saying that the same is possible for the Jaguars in 2013, but how many people predicted that the Colts could be in the playoffs in 2012?