Colts will try to stop a 'fire hydrant'

INDIANAPOLIS – The words used by the Indianapolis Colts to describe Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew ranged from "fire hydrant" to "one of the best in the league" to "powerful."

The list could go on and on.

For the Colts, Jones-Drew has been that nagging thorn you can’t get out, or the fly buzzing by your ear you can't swat away.

“He’s built like a fire hydrant, runs like a shorebird,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “Tree trunks for legs. Never stops churning. Powerful, powerful guy. We know what type of runs he excels at.”

In 13 career games against the Colts, Jones-Drew has averaged 106.8 yards on the ground -- the most against any team he’s faced more than once.

“He’s a thick-bodied guy that runs with his pads down,” Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. “He’s a downhill runner. He has great vision. I think he can make all the cuts. He’s just a tough, physical runner that’s been producing in the NFL for a number of years.”

The Jaguars have actually done well against the Colts with Blaine Gabbert as quarterback. They’re 3-1 against Indianapolis with Gabbert taking the snaps, as opposed to 2-19 against the rest of the NFL.

Still, the only chance the Jaguars have to beat the Colts on Sunday is to feed Jones-Drew the ball like he’s at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

“MJD, he’s one of the best in the league,” Colts safety Antoine Bethea said. “Any time he gets the ball, he can take it to the end zone. I always talk about Travis Henry, those short, compact-type guys that has low gravity to the ground that’s really tough to get down. MJD, man, he’s there.”

The Colts struggled against the run last season, and this season they are 26th in the league in that category, giving up 129 yards a game.

Jones, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, has gotten off to a slow start this season. He’s tied for 32nd in the league in rushing at 115 yards. He’s averaging just 2.6 yards per carry.

But there’s no better team than the Colts for Jones-Drew to try to get back on track against. That’s why the Colts aren’t taking him and the winless Jaguars lightly. All they have to do is look at Jones-Drew's 5.4-yards-a-carry average against them in his career if they need a reminder.

“One guy get there, hit him high, slide down to the ankle and hold on until the other 10 guys there,” Colts defensive lineman Cory Redding said. “It’s very hard for one guy to take him down by himself. … It’s going to be a total defensive effort against [him] this week to stop the run.”