How would you describe Jaguars 5-foot-7, 208-lb. running back Maurice Jones-Drew?
Powerful? Stout? Robust?
Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano has his own way of characterizing Jones-Drew, and I guarantee his terminology stands on its own.
"This guy is like a rolling ball of butcher knives," Pagano said. "He's scary."
Quote of the day honors go to Mr. Pagano.
Jones-Drew is certainly a tough running back to oppose, given his slight stature - at least height-wise - but powerful frame. The Jaguars' two-time Pro Bowler is short enough to hide behind his tall offensive line and carefully pick the hole he wants to attack, but he's incredibly built and tough to bring down in the open field.
As a result, the Ravens know they need to focus on gang-tackling Jones-Drew to keep him from going off against them.
"He runs over linebackers, he knocks guys out, he puts people to sleep," Pagano said. "We've got to do a good job, as always, of setting the edge and not giving the outside. He's a downhill guy. He can bounce, jump, cut, spin. He can do everything, and we've got to get as many hats on as possible and hang on for dear life."
In many ways, Jones-Drew resembles a guy the Ravens' defense is intimately familiar with - Ray Rice.
Rice is a hair taller than Jones-Drew (the Ravens' running back is listed at 5-foot-8), and four pounds heavier. He also ducks around behind his offensive linemen and benefits from the defense not being able to easily track his movements behind the line of scrimmage, and has the same physical running style once he turns upfield.
I asked linebacker Ray Lewis yesterday if Jones-Drew kind of reminds him of Rice, both in terms of size and running style.
"Absolutely, there's no 'kind of,' " Lewis said. "Their build is definitely the same. I think, (catching the ball) out of the backfield, Ray is a little more dynamic when it comes to spreading them out and getting in one-on-one matches. But Jones-Drew is the exact same type of back - really shifty in the hole, really likes to hide behind those lineman and burst out the long run and things like that. He's a good back."
It might go slightly unnoticed because of the Jaguars' 1-5 start, but Jones-Drew has played well through his first six games. He ranks third in the NFL with 572 rushing yards and is averaging 4.8 yards per carry, his highest mark since his rookie year back in 2006.
Given that the Jaguars will be sending out a rookie quarterback in Blaine Gabbert, you can bet good money that the Ravens' defense will be stacking the box trying to stop Jones-Drew, and in the process, putting pressure on the 22-year-old Gabbert to beat them through the air..