JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Maurice Jones-Drew will begin the season much like he did his NFL career: a backup and third-down running back.
Jacksonville Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said Monday that Jones-Drew will rotate in on third-down plays Sunday at Minnesota. The NFL's leading rusher in 2011 also will "get a series" in place of starter Rashad Jennings, Mularkey added.
"I don't know the number of reps that he will play, but I would imagine that he will play, yes," Mularkey said.
Jones-Drew ended a 38-day holdout Sunday without a new contract. He asked the team to rework the final two years of his five-year, $31 million contract, but the Jaguars declined.
Jones-Drew was unapologetic in regards to his absence and has no regrets about how he handled things. He spent about 12 hours at the facility Sunday, meeting with coaches, taking a conditioning test and studying the playbook.
He practiced with the team Monday for the first time since before last year's finale. Jones-Drew said he carried about 10 or 15 times, getting repetitions in 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.
"It felt great," he said. "Obviously studying the playbook kind of getting into the intricate details of things, the snap count. It felt great to get out there and run around with the guys and get hit a little bit. It's kind of good to get my legs back underneath me and getting ready to roll."
Getting the playbook down should be the key to increasing his workload as the season progresses.
"Everything I'm doing I'm just trying to get acclimated with how they're blocking and the blocking scheme, my reads, reaction times, things like that that I couldn't work on being away," he said. "That's coming along fine."