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Jaguars turn to Owens to handle running workload

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm •  Published: December 5, 2012
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars are so banged up at running back that they're turning things over to a special teams ace.

With Maurice Jones-Drew, Jalen Parmele and Rashad Jennings all injured, the Jaguars (2-10) are planning to give former fullback and fourth-team running back Montell Owens the start Sunday against the New York Jets (5-7).

Owens is a two-time Pro Bowler, earning both trips with his special teams play. He has a franchise record 118 tackles on special team. His offensive resume is much less stellar. He ran seven times for 29 yards last week at Buffalo, giving him 21 carries for 112 yards in his seven-year career.

Nonetheless, he is welcoming a bigger role Sunday.

"It's just a chance to showcase yourself in a way that you haven't been accustomed to," Owens said Wednesday.

Owens knows his limitations: He's not the fastest guy on the field, doesn't have the best hands, isn't the most skilled blocker. But he has become a mainstay in Jacksonville because of his versatility and durability.

Owens missed just seven games, has played fullback and running back, and lined up all over the field on just about every special teams unit.

"I just enjoy playing the game," he said. "It doesn't matter where I am. I'm not one of those guys that's concerned with where I'm playing or how much I'm playing. Some guys, they've been waiting to play the position that they had in high school or college. I'm just grateful for the opportunity, grateful to be part of this organization.

"Wherever that is, I'm going to put a winning effort out there."

Jacksonville hasn't gotten many winning efforts from its running game this season. The Jaguars rank last in the NFL in rushing, averaging just 78.8 yards a game and 3.5 yards a carry. Coach Mike Mularkey's team is on pace to become the worst rushing team in franchise history.

The Jags finished with 1,600 yards on the ground in 2001.

They could be end up more than 300 yards short of that this season.

Jones-Drew's foot injury is the biggest problem. MJD injured his left foot on the first play at Oakland on Sept. 21. He stayed in for another play, but then left the game for good. He has been inactive for the last six games, and Mularkey called him "very questionable" to play against the Jets.

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