FOXBORO — The prospects of facing one of the best running backs in the NFL decreased Thursday as Maurice Jones-Drew  missed practice again for the Jaguars with a foot injury he sustained in Week 7 against the Raiders.
Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey said Wednesday it would be hard to imagine Jones-Drew returning this week against the Patriots if he didn’t get back to practice on Thursday, after missing the last eight games.
“It will be difficult, yes,” Mularkey said. “It would be difficult. It’s not out of the question but it would be difficult.”
Jones-Drew is a three-time Pro Bowler who led the league in rushing in 2011 with 1,606 yards. At just 5-foot-7, 208 pounds, he is often compared with Ray Rice  as a back who is incredibly hard to find behind the line of scrimmage and equally hard to bring to the ground.
If he plays, what does MJD bring as a running back?
“Everything, he brings everything,” Bill Belichick  raved on Wednesday. “He has great balance, vision, power for his size. He’s a thick guy, hard to put on the ground. [He] sees the holes well, runs with good power, has good speed, catches the ball well out of the backfield, he’s dangerous on the check-downs and flare routes, screens, things like that. He’s very good in the line of scrimmage on the inside runs, very good on the outside runs. He’s a tough guy to handle in space. He does everything well. I don’t think there are any weak points to his game. Kind of like Ray Rice, his low center of gravity, his strength, his balance, he’s a tough guy to tackle, even if you have somebody there, you still have to tackle him and that’s not he easiest thing in the world at all.
“There are a lot of plays where it doesn’t look like he has much and he gets a good 10 or 15 yards out of it. Then there are other times where it looks like he has a five or six yard run and he takes it 50. He’s very dangerous. It’s not over with him until the whistle blows and he’s on the ground because he’s a guy that gets a lot of extra yards on his own.
“He runs with a good base, good balance and he uses his blockers well. He has good vision so it makes it hard for the defenders to see him without trying to stand up and look for him and that exposes their body to the blockers and they get blocked more. He certainly knows how to use everything to his advantage. His speed, his power, his quickness, his vision and he can stay behind those guys and it is hard sometimes to see exactly where he is or where he’s going and he can get there in a hurry. But they have a very good group of backs too. [Rashad] Jennings is an explosive guy, [Montell] Owens, [Greg] Jones  is a good fullback. They have a lot of good players in their backfield, good skill players ‘ the receivers, [Jordan] Shipley, [Marcedes] Lewis. They have plenty of good skill players.”