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Thursday’s notebook

Posted Jun 2, 2011

It’s no secret the Jaguars success in the running game in 2011 will depend largely on the production of two-time Pro Bowler Maurice Jones-Drew, but don’t count out the emergence of Rashad Jennings.

Two-back system leads to success

It’s no secret the Jaguars success in the running game in 2011 will depend largely on the production of two-time Pro Bowler Maurice Jones-Drew, but don’t count out the emergence of Rashad Jennings.  The duo ranked fourth in the NFL among running back tandems with a combined 1,783 rushing yards.

Jennings proved in the final six games that he can be the perfect complement.  He averaged 5.5 yards a carry in 2010, amassing 459 yards while contributing four touchdowns.  He eclipsed 100 rushing yards in two games, with 109 yards against Oakland and 108 yards in the finale at Houston. 

Despite missing the final two games with a knee injury, Jones-Drew ranked fifth in the NFL with 1,324 rushing yards and had a streak of six straight 100-yard rushing games.  Jones-Drew (101) and Jennings (109) both recorded 100-plus rushing yards in a win against Oakland last season, the third time in franchise history two players have had 100 rushing yards in the same game. 

History suggests that a two-back system leads to success, especially in the Jaguars case. 

The Jaguars have six postseason appearances in 16 seasons and the club had two rushers with at least 500-plus yards in five of those seasons. The Jaguars have accomplished the feat seven times: 1996-97, 1999, 2005-08. The only other postseason appearance for the Jaguars without two rushers with at least 500 yards came in 1998. 

The running back duo of Jones-Drew (166-941, 13 TDs) and Fred Taylor (231-1,146, 5 TDs) ranked second in the NFL in 2006 with 2,087 rushing yards, the most by a duo in team history. The Jaguars came within 59 yards of becoming only the fifth team in NFL history to have two 1,000-yard rushers in a season.

Six of the last nine Super Bowl champions have employed a system in which two running backs have at least 500-plus rushing yards, including four of the last five winners.  

Here’s a list of the last nine Super Bowl champions and the totals of their top two running backs:

YEAR

TEAM

PLAYERS

YARDS

2010

Green Bay

Brandon Jackson (190-703), John Kuhn (84-281)

984

2009

New Orleans

Pierre Thomas (147-793), Mike Bell (172-654)

1,447

2008

Pittsburgh

Willie Parker (210-791), Mewelde Moore (140-588)

1,379

2007

N.Y. Giants

Brandon Jacobs (202-1,009), Derrick Ward (125-602)

1,611

2006

Indianapolis

Joseph Addai (226-1,081), Dominic Rhodes (187-641)

1,611

2005

Pittsburgh

Willie Parker (255-1,202), Jerome Bettis (110-368)

1,570

2004

New England

Corey Dillon (345-1,635), Kevin Faulk (54-255)

1,890

2003

New England

Antowain Smith (182-642), Kevin Faulk (178-638)

1,280

2002

Tampa Bay

Michael Pittman (204-718), Mike Alstott (146-548)

1,266

Here are the NFL’s top running back duos in 2010:

RK

TEAM

PLAYERS

YARDS

1.

N.Y. Giants

Ahmad Bradshaw (276-1,235), Brandon Jacobs (147-823)

2,058

2.

Houston

Arian Foster (327-1,616), Derrick Ward (50-315)

1,931

3.

Oakland

Darren McFadden (223-1,157), Michael Bush (158-655)

1,812

4.

Jacksonville

Maurice Jones-Drew (299-1,324), Rashad Jennings (84-459)

1,783

5.

Atlanta

Michael Turner (334-1,371), Jason Snelling (87-324)

1,695

Chance to meet Byner

Jaguars running backs coach and former NFL standout Earnest Byner will headline the NFL 101 Workshop for Women event on June 16 at the IMAX Theater at World Golf Village. 

The cost for the two-hour event is $40 which includes a 2011 Jaguars home game ticket, NFL workbook and a special gift.  Please visit priproductions.com or call Rabiah Hickey at (904) 398-8179 to register.

Byner was originally a 10th-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns in 1984 and also spent time with the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens. He rushed for 8,261 yards, 56 touchdowns and was named to two Pro Bowls during his 14-year career.

Special visitor

Six-year Luke Akerstrom and his family visited EverBank Field on Wednesday.  Akerstrom spent nearly six months in the hospital after suffering a seizure in late December.  He returned home two weeks ago but continues to receive extensive rehab at Brooks Health and Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital.  You can follow his story at prayforluke.com.

Akerstrom along with his brother, Abram, and mother, Brandi, spent time in the Jaguars locker room and equipment room before playing on the main playing field.  The Jaguars defensive coaches invited the family to their afternoon meeting. 

Gabbert lends hand to tornado victims

Jaguars first-round draft pick Blaine Gabbert is raising money through an online auction for those affected by the recent tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri.  Gabbert is partnering with CAA (sports agency) and United Way for the project.

Among the items are a VIP Golf Experience with Gabbert which includes a round of golf at a course and date to be determined in the winner’s choice of St. Louis or Jacksonville.  Click here for the auction items. http://www.facebook.com/TornadoVictims?sk=app_207319312614511

EverBank to hold Jacksonville FOODFIGHT

EverBank will serve as the title sponsor for Jacksonville FOODFIGHT on June 9 at the Touchdown Club at EverBank Field.  Proceeds from the annual event support Second Harvest of North Florida.  Volunteers from over 50 local restaurants will display their trademark dishes.  Last year’s event raised a record $95,000.

General admission tickets are $60; $70 at the door.  VIP tickets are $85 and include access to VIP tasting reception and premier seating through the night.  Visit jacksonvillefoodfight.org for more information and to purchase tickets.

Joe Cullen Big Man Camp

A reminder about the Joe Cullen Big Man Camp on June 13-14 at Atlantic Coast High School.  The camp is free and open to offensive and defensive linemen entering the eighth grade.  Several Jaguars coaches will be on hand to assist Cullen at the camp.

Interested parties should report to Atlantic Coast High School for registration on June 13 by 4:45 p.m. Participants need to bring football shoes and a football helmet. 

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