Six Points With Maurice Jones-Drew

Jaguars rookie running back Maurice Jones-Drew talked to Scout.com about his leg injury, what he hopes he's proving this year in the NFL and much more in this exclusive interview.

Ed Thompson:  You hurt your leg last week against Tennessee. How are you feeling and will you be able to play this Sunday against the Patriots?

Maurice Jones-Drew:  The leg's fine. I'm playing this week. I didn't really think it was that serious, but the trainers thought it was. I was running with the ball, someone landed on me, and it kind of cramped up and I ended up with a bruise on my knee. But I really didn't feel it was anything serious.

ET:  You have a rookie-best ten touchdowns so far and you're tied for sixth-best amongst all running backs in the NFL in that category. When you see a player like LaDainian Tomlinson with 28 rushing touchdowns, what's your reaction to that? 

MJD:  I just wonder what he does to stay healthy, because me and Fred (Taylor) both carry the ball a lot, and we're beat up. But he's still moving like he was in Week One. So that's what's really amazing to me.

ET:  When NFL clubs look for a prototypical running back, they look for speed, vision and size. Some clubs worry about size from a durability issue at the NFL level. How has your size helped or hindered you during your first year in the league?

MJD:  Well, obviously guys can't see me when I'm running behind a lineman. And when they do, I pop right up on them. But to tell you the truth, size doesn't have anything to do with how you do your job out there. It's all about your heart and determination. I got tired of people telling me I was too small to play, it was ridiculous. I wondered how they could think I was too small to play a game I've been playing for 13 years.  But that's what they want in this league, the prototypical 5-foot-10, 225-pound guy. And I'm sorry, but that's something I can't change. You can go on the street and find a 5-foot-10, 225-pound guy that doesn't make plays. Some guys said they didn't know how fast I was and I ran the fastest forty.  They didn't know I could catch, I caught almost every ball that was thrown to me.  

(Getty Images/Marc Serota)
ET:  You know, Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney faced the same thing coming out of college with people saying he was too small to play that position in the NFL.  But he's now set the standard for the position that some others are trying to copy. Do you feel you're now making that kind of statement for running backs coming out of college who aren't that prototypical size?

MJD:  Hopefully that's what's going on. Because you see it elsewhere too. They've got these big receivers around the league, but right now some of the most dangerous receivers are only 5-foot-10, 5-foot-11.  That's not saying that the taller guys can't make plays, but the thinking in the NFL appears to be teetering back and forth a bit now about receivers and they're focusing more on who can make plays. That's the way it should be for running backs, too.  I can't grow two or three inches, but I can go out there and play as good as the rest of them. I'm really glad Jacksonville gave me that chance to show what I can do in the NFL.

ET:  What have you been able to learn from Fred Taylor that has been useful to you or that you'll be able to emulate during your NFL career?

MJD:  Patience. Being patient in the run game. And studying. Me and Fred watch 4 to 5 hours of tape together each week watching for things like how the linebackers blitz. You learn so much watching tape. There is so much you can learn about a guy and what he's going to do when they're playing zone or playing man, and he's taught me a lot of that stuff.  

ET:  With just two games left in the regular season, do you have any personal goals that you're trying to achieve?

MJD:  Just winning. There isn't anything much more personal than winning, you know? That's what it's all about. It's like we're already in the playoffs -- we have to win from now on if we want to go anywhere.


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