Jul 28, 2008
As you may have noticed, we had Julius Jones buried in our initial projections. We moved him up a little, since head coach Mike Holmgren spoke positively about him and definitively about his role as the main ball carrier. We certainly knew Maurice Morris would be in the mix, but Holmgren made it pretty clear that Jones was bought in to be their lead back.
He may still be that, but as training camp kicked off in Seattle, Morris’ role is considered larger than anyone expected. We had him at 52, with over 100 carries, but we need to bump him up and project even more love for him.
There are issues with Jones behind what might not be a very good OL. He has an inability to make people miss, and his run instincts and vision leave a lot to be desired. Too often, Jones runs into the pile. He’s basically a one-dimensional back, which flies in the face of what he showcased back in his rookie season, when he was dynamic as hell. So if the offense is sputtering a little, and if the line is shaky as expected, we could see Jones getting stuffed a ton. After all, he got stuffed a lot in Dallas, and their line is strong. If things get a little ugly with their offense, I don’t think Jones is good enough to rise above that and make them better. If the ship is going down, Jones will not only be going down with it, he’ll be someone who causes it to sink faster.
Morris has a little more zuzu, and he’s very familiar with the offense and the personnel. Heck, he may be a better overall player than Jones at this point. Morris averaged a nice 4.5 yards per carry last year, up from 3.8 the year before, and he’s shown an ability to score, unlike Jones, who is apparently allergic to the endzone. Morris can catch the ball, too. I get the feeling that Jones will be used more simply in attempt to establish the running game with a back who’s a little bigger, whereas Morris will actually make the plays and truly help this offense. Of course, T.J. Duckett is also in the mix and could see some time as RB and could easily emerge as the goal line back.
So in short, I’ll be passing on Jones, and Morris looks like a nice value later in drafts for depth. He’d be an ideal #4 RB and a guy who’s value could rise later in the year, yet he’s someone who has value from Day One.