Maurice Jones-Drew was one of the Oakland Raiders most feel good 2014 NFL Free Agency additions as the former star Oakland area running back in high school out of De La Salle made the decision to return back home to Oakland and the Bay Area after being drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars where up until today’s OTA session was the only team MJD called home as a pro.
Now back in his home city and with his hometown team Maurice Jones-Drew is hoping to turn back the clock after an injury hobbled past two seasons in Florida, and Raiders head coach Dennis Allen isn’t ruling out letting MJD fill a role usually reserved for spry-legged youngsters.
The Raiders head coach told Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle that he is considering using Jones-Drew as the team’s new punt returner, filling the role that was once held by the departed Jacoby Ford.
Returned 15 punts in Jacksonville. None last year. RT @VicTafur Allen said he is considering using RB Maurice Jones-Drew to return punts.
— Aaron Nagler (@AaronNagler) May 27, 2014
About 15 guys field punts in practice. Only about 3 of them have a chance to return them in a game.
— Christopher Hansen (@ChrisHansenNFL) May 27, 2014
Jones-Drew doesn’t have much experience as a punt returner at the pro level and it is curious that Allen would be even considering the veteran who is known more for his power than his speed in a special teams facet. It can’t hurt to juggle with things and keep it interesting in the early days of OTA’s, but if Allen is seriously considering using MJD as a punt returner it could be best described as a curious idea considering other potential options. Already questioned about his speed don’t rule out Allen’s tactics as a potential move to raise the vet’s confidence in his speed by putting him in a practice role will he will be exhibiting a lot of bursts of speed. Just don’t buy Allen selling MJD as a potential starting punt returner in Week One for the Raiders just quite yet.