Maurice Jones-Drew endured a tough visit to Wembley stadium last October. Will he fare better this time around, now with the Oakland Raiders?
Last year he suited up for the Jacksonville Jaguars and was part of the team thumped 42-10 by the San Francisco 49ers.
Now Jones-Drew is back for more after signing with the Oakland Raiders. His new team will visit Wembley to battle the Miami Dolphins on September 28th.
CSN Bay Area reporter Scott Bair first broke the news that the 29-year-old running back has agreed a three-year deal with the Silver and Black.
That guarantees a return home for the Oakland native. It also gives the Raiders a tough inside runner, capable of acting as a workhorse for a revamped offense.
Jones-Drew has been sub-par for the last two seasons, but he is a former three-time 1,000-yard rusher. Unfortunately, persistent foot injuries have combined to limit the initial quickness and elusiveness of the player superbly dubbed "Pocket Hercules."
The nadir came in 2013, when Jones-Drew averaged a career-low 3.4 yards per carry. While problems with his ankle played a part, the 5'7", 210-pounder was also hampered by a mediocre offensive line.
The Jags' front five was chiefly responsible for a ground game that ranked 31st in the league. Jacksonville averaged 78.8 yards per game, while all Jaguars runners mustered just 3.3 yards per attempt, via stats from NFL.com.
Even at his age, Jones-Drew can revive his numbers and career in Oakland. He will be helped by the arrival of free-agent offensive tackles Austin Howard and Donald Penn.
The pair both helped lead the way for productive ground attacks in 2013. Howard knocked open holes for the league's sixth-ranked rushing game with the New York Jets. Penn helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers average 100.8 yards on the ground per game.
A revamped O-line is good news for Jones-Drew, while his limited production the last two years is actually an advantage for the Raiders.
Although he is now a veteran, Jones-Drew doesn't have the wear and tear of some other running backs. He didn't start for his first three seasons in Jacksonville.
But from 2009-11 Jones-Drew had 954 rushing attempts. He went over 300 carries in both 2009 and 2011.
But he has been limited to just 320 in the last two seasons combined. A fully healthy Jones-Drew, boosted further by a change of scenery, still has 1,000-yard potential.
He was busy at Wembley in 2013, rushing for 75 yards on 19 gruelling carries against the 49ers' fearsome run defense, as well as catching six passes for 47 yards.
In Oakland, Jones-Drew won't have to carry the load by himself. He will be complemented by speedster Darren McFadden, another former 1,000-yard rusher.
If McFadden can also stay healthy, the stuff of dreams so far in his career, the Raiders will have a dangerous one-two punch in the backfield.
The McFadden-MJD combination can cause problems for several teams in 2014, including the Dolphins at Wembley.