MJD shows up as Jaguars aim to start 2012 on a strong note

(ICON/SMI)

Maurice Jones-Drew ended his 38-day holdout by returning to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday morning. 

Jones-Drew, whose 16,06 yards led the NFL is rushing in 2011, held out during the entire preseason. Jones-Drew wants his contract to be restructured.

Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey spoke in a recent conference call about the possibility of not having the former UCLA star for the start of the season. 

"I have not heard from Maurice, Mularkey said. 

It's obviously huge news for  team lacking star power. Imagine this team without it's best player? It appeared that Rashad Jennings would get the start for the team in the season opener, and that still may be the case with Jones-Drew missing so much time.

Now, there is at least reason for excitement. A star back, and two young players in QB Blaine Gabbert and WR Justin Blackmon. Could the Jags now surprise? We are a week away from knowing. 

This team though just got a whole lot better. 

Tennessee Titans Stomp Carolina Panthers 30-3

Photo of Cam Newton by Todd Kirkland/Icon SMI

This is a review of the Carolina Panthers 30-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans on November 13th 2011. Cam Newton came into the Titans game with a injured shoulder that he had had a MRI on. To my knowledge Brett Jensen of WFNZ broke the story about the MRI which was negative.

But Cam Newton’s injured shoulder was not why the Carolina Panthers lost to the Tennessee Titans. Apathy was the reason the Panthers lost to the Titans today. To me the Panthers looked largely disinterested in the game and played very sloppy football. This looked very much like the 2010 Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers offense looked shaky even though Cam Newton only threw one interception. Against the Titans Cam Newton completed 23 of 42 passes for 212 yards and rushed for 55 yards. Tight end Greg Olsen had his worst game as a Panther with one fumble and at least one drop of an easy pass. Cam Newton looked more frustrated than I have seen him. I feel that once the game’s outcome was clear then Newton should have been benched to prevent possible injury, but he played the whole game.

Matt Hasselbeck completed 15 of 27 passes for 219 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception. Chris Johnson looked like his old self as the Panthers run defense took a step back. Johnson rushed 27 times for 130 yards and a score. Johnson added four receptions for 44 yards as well. The Titans seemed to break the Panthers will with a long punt return for a touchdown early in the first quarter.

Playing catch up the Panthers never did get a running game going as Stewart and Williams got a combined 12 attempts for 58 yards. Cam Newton ran seven times for 55 yards including a career long of 26 yards.

The Carolina Panthers defense looked very flat despite a good game by James Anderson who played with an injured ankle. The Carolina Panthers defense and special teams must step up in games where the offense isn’t playing well. Until that happens the Panthers will be blown out occasionally like they were against the Titans.

As you could see by all the empty seats at Bank of America Stadium the fans are tired of losing and bailed out early in the blowout. The Panthers need to get their offense flowing again and start cutting and adding players until the special teams improve. The defense can’t be helped by street free agents but the special teams certainly can.