The Pittsburgh Steelers rumor mill and Steeler related Twitter feeds are all a buzz late this morning with word that former Jacksonville Jaguar Maurice Jones-Drew is scheduled to meet with the Steelers brass sometime this week. He could be there as early as today.
Le’Veon Bell clearly put his stamp on the 2014 as being the featured back for the Steelers. Once he overcame his early season injury, Bell continually improved, and put up enough numbers to be considered for Offensive Rookie of the Year. The Steelers have been playing with the 1 – 2 running back combination for several years, but have never quite seemed to find the correct fit. With the release of Isaac Redman and with Jonathan Dwyer heading over to Pittsburgh West, the Steelers are thin at the backup position without even considering who the #2 should be of that 1-2 punch.
Maurice Jones Drew was once considered one of the best backs in the league from about 2009-2011 when he was putting up 1,300+ yards each of those three seasons. Over his eight year career, MJD has averaged 4.5 yards per carry – a great number. However, an injury in 2012 took him out early in the season, and he’s appeared to have slowed down a bit since his return in 2013 where he only averaged 3.4 yards – his worst in his career. Jacksonville ranked 31st in rushing yards last season. Most of that had to do with an offensive line, but there is question over MJD’s full recovery from his foot injury sustained in 2012.
MJD may not be the featured back he was once considered, but he can still move piles. He is a better power back than what the Steelers have had on the roster in recent years and could be a good #2 back to rest Bell and pick up first downs on those 3rd and short situations – now there’s a concept. I’m not wishing it and hope I’m not messing with karma too much, but if… IF… Bell were to become injured this season or need to miss any significant time, I think that Jones-Drew could work nicely as the backup – especially if Mike Munchak can get this group of linemen to be better run blockers and create some nice gaps.
Thoughts on MJD? Is he a good fit for the Steelers if they sign him?