Jaguars Q&A With Maurice Jones-Drew

Ed Thompson asked Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew about his last encounter with Colts safety Antoine Bethea, facing a last-ranked Indy rush defense, quarterback David Garrard and more in this exclusive interview!

ET: The Colts have a chance to clinch the AFC South title and they did there in Jacksonville last year…what's the mood of the team this week?

MD: We're not so much worried about them clinching…it's in our hands, but we just want to concentrate on us. We know they have a great team and a great offense so we're gonna have to play our best ball, but for us to play our best ball we have to be able to concentrate on us. That's what we're doing now we're trying to improve this week because we know if we get better this week, we'll be that much better than last week and we played pretty well last week.

ET: What effect is having David Garrard instead of Byron Leftwich back there going to have in this game against the Colts?

MD: It's kind of tough to say because they have two different, effective ways of getting around on offense. David can run, so when stuff breaks down David doesn't hesitate to run…he'll just take off. Byron's still looking downfield in those situations because he's a pro-style quarterback; he's a pocket-passer. We have the best of both worlds. But if you're asking what effect he'll have that's different, I'd say that David's going to be able to make plays with his legs in ways that Byron wouldn't be able to.

ET: Your buddy (Colts safety) Antoine Bethea was out with a shoulder injury last week, but it looks like he'll be out there on Sunday playing.

MD: Oh yeah, that's always good.  I respect him so much because not too many safeties like to come up, and he came up and lowered the boom. He's another one of (agent) Adisa's (Bakari) clients, so I've got to give him a little respect.

Colts safety Antoine Bethea tackles Maurice Jones-Drew in September at the RCA Dome. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
ET: You guys had some incredible collisions in that game…

MD: Yeah I think he had twelve tackles and eight of them were against me (laughs).

ET: Did you have some fun talking to him back in September during the last matchup between your teams?

MD: Oh man, I talked to him more than anyone on the field I think. There were a couple times where I could have tried to outrun him, but I just ran into him to see how tough he was -- and he just kept coming back which was cool. I think we kind of built a relationship off that.

ET: The Colts have lost two of their last three games, do you think that makes them more vulnerable or more dangerous?

MD: We'll probably get their best, which is the best part about it. I don't ever want to beat a team when they're down; that doesn't make you feel like a man. When you see a boxer, boxers always take six or seven months off because they don't want to fight a boxer right after they got done with a fight cause they're still beat up and haven't trained a whole lot. You want to catch a team at their best and know that if or when you beat them that you beat them at their best. So we think we're going to have a great time, it's going to be a great challenge for us, I think we're going to take it head on like men and go out there and have a ball.

ET: Has the fact that the Colts have the last ranked run defense had you and Fred Taylor licking your chops a little bit?

MD: Not really. They're an NFL defense and week-in, week-out you never know what can happen. We're taking the approach as if they're the number one rush defense. We've got to get better in our run game and we've got to play hard and play fast and put the linebackers on the linemen and do all of the little things that are going to help us run the ball.

ET: In his press conference, Jack Del Rio was asked about utilizing you and Fred Taylor in the backfield at the same time and he said "at some point we could utilize those guys at the same time"…can you imagine the impact that would have on your offense?

MD: Anything is possible…it's all about what the coaches feel comfortable with going into that game because certain teams present certain issues and instead of using two backs you might only want to use one. We were out in the field once before and it almost went to the house so who knows, maybe we'll be able to do it again.

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