The Arizona Cardinals’ run defense has been a force in recent weeks, but the team has a tough challenge Sunday when they face the Jacksonville Jaguars and running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Though Jones-Drew’s stats are down this year, likely at least in part due to the overall struggles of those around him, the Cardinals recognize he’s the key to stopping their offense.
“Maurice Jones-Drew has been doing a good job for them,” said defensive tackle Dan Williams. “They’re a pretty good offense once they get the running game going.”
This season, Jones-Drew is averaging just 3.0 yards per carry, well below his career average of 4.5. Still, linebacker Daryl Washington praised Jones-Drew’s ability, and agreed with his teammate they’ll need to stop the run to win.
“We know what type of running back he’s been and he still is,” Washington said. “Get guys to the ball, stop the run, make them one-dimensional, and the game is ours.”
Jones-Drew, who’s listed at five-foot-seven and 210 pounds, is known for his ability to break tackles. Arizona head coach Bruce Arians said his defense has to be prepared to bring the running back down.
“I know this, that Maurice Jones-Drew has embarrassed a lot of teams over the years and a lot of players,” Arians explained. “You don’t want to get on that highlight film when he trucks you and runs over you, so you better bring your big-boy pants when you play against Jacksonville.”
With the Cardinals ranked third in the league at 86.9 rushing yards allowed per game, it appears the team is at an advantage. According to Williams, the only issue could be a lack of discipline, which he said Jones-Drew would be quick to take advantage of.
“As long as everybody does their job, we should be okay,” Williams added.