OWINGS MILLS — Defending Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew won’t be easy. Jones-Drew has been an elite back the past few seasons and his game hasn’t tapered off any.
Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano knows this. And he drew what is quite possibly the analogy of the season, to describe Jones-Drew’s running style.
“He breaks a ton of tackles,” Pagano said. “You put on the tape and this guy is like a rolling ball of butcher knives. He’s scary.”
Yes, Pagano described Jones-Drew as a “rolling ball of butcher knives.” Now that’s getting descriptive.
Jacksonville’s offense has been forced through Jones-Drew this season (572 yards, two touchdowns) as the Jaguars continue to break in rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert. With what Baltimore has been able to do this season, it doesn’t require rocket science to conclude the Ravens will key on Jones-Drew to force Gabbert to make plays with his arm.
“The big thing is we’ve got to gang-tackle (Jones-Drew),” Pagano said. “We’ve got to limit his yards after contact. … He runs like (Brandon) Jacobs from the Giants, physically, but he’s slight in stature (5-feet-7). Sometimes he looks like he’s two-and-a-half, three-feet tall behind all those big linemen and he’s hard to find. All of a sudden, there he is. He dents you with his (helmet) right on yours and he puts you to sleep.”
At 5-7, Jones-Drew has drawn comparisons to Ravens running back Ray Rice, who stands at just 5-8. But the main difference between the two backs is Jones-Drew’s build, which enables to him to plow through the tackles and fall foward after contact.
“He’s very powerful,” safety Bernard Pollard said. “A lot of people talk about 5-7 (height). It don’t matter. 212 pounds, or whatever he is, that’s a lot of weight.”
CB Carr will play if he’s 100 percent Monday
Cornerback Chris Carr said his injured hamstring is without pain and that he’s preparing to play on Monday, assuming there are no setbacks.
After trying to come back from the injury twice, Carr said he’s not returning to the field until the hamstring is 100 percent healed.
“If I don’t feel like I’m going to be 100 percent then I’m not going to go,” Carr said. “But if I’m up for this game then I’m going to be ready. There’s going to be no 90 percent anymore.”
Cornerback Jimmy Smith was also practicing for the second consecutive day Friday. He’s rehabbing a high ankle sprain sustained in Week 1 against Pittsburgh.
Wide receiver Lee Evans and left guard Ben Grubbs were absent from practice and would be long shots to play Monday.
By Jason Butt