Some of you might not remember this, but one of the 'knocks' on one-time Colts great Edgerrin James was that he was 'soft' around the goal-line. You'd often hear Colts fans complain that Edge didn't run hard on short yardage plays, or they'd give him crap because he refused to leave his feet near the goal-line, diving for TDs.
So, it kind of pleases me to see Edgerrin's baby cousin, Javarris, now operating as the Colts goal-line and short yardage rusher. Not only is he working in these packages, he's excelling in them. Three TDs in two games, all in goal-line situations that require tough running.
In a recent post for Yahoo!'s Shutdown Corner blog, Doug Farrar writes about how Javarris has, in many always, been a part of the Colts long before the team re-signed him (after cutting him in September) as an undrafted rookie this past off-season:
This isn't the younger James' first experience with the Colts - he remembers being in awe when cousin Edgerrin introduced him to Peyton Manning years ago. Now, Manning is counting on him to make plays in the team's injury-depleted offense. Edgerrin was selected in the first round over a decade ago, while Javarris has knocked around with a few teams before finding a home.
"There weren't any expectations," he recently said of his early journey through the NFL. "I was just trying to prepare myself, like I would every week since I've been back. Going in, preparing myself like I was a starter, just making sure I knew all my assignments and everything I needed to know so I could go out there comfortable."
While Javarris is only averaging 2.5 yards a carry, don't let that fool you. The Colts are using him near the goal-line as a sub for Donald Brown, which (for me) is more of an indictment of Donald Brown than Javarris.
While Brown had a better day this past Sunday (50 yards on 12 carries) than previous games, it is Javarris James that has been getting into the endzone. At the end of the day, touchdowns define runningbacks.
It's fun to see the energetic and determined James running the ball hard for this battered and beat-up Colts team. It's also just a bit awesome to see Peyton Manning handing the ball off to another member of the James clan.
A lot happened before the Colts reclaimed James. They waived him right before the season opener, and New England picked him up. The Patriots released him, and Washington put him on its practice squad. The next day, the Colts signed James.
"I was actually in a hotel room when they called me," he said. "I was jumping for joy. I called my mom, I called my dad, and everybody was so excited. I will never forget that day."
Next thing you know we'll be seeing Marvin Harrison's son catching passes from one of Cooper Manning's kids, or Tony Dungy's son Eric get drafted in the fourth round out of Oregon in the 2013 NFL Draft by Chris Polian.
Sometimes, it's kind of cool to see things kept 'in the family.'