Q&A With Maurice Jones-Drew

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew talks to Scout.com about the impact of last week's loss to the Titans, fellow rookie RB Laurence Maroney, and preparing for the New England Patriots.

Ed Thompson:  How did last week's loss impact the team's mood this week?

Maurice Jones-Drew We lost, don't get me wrong. And we felt we had opportunities to make plays. Our defense played great, the Titans only had 98 total yards -- I had that many yards rushing. But they beat us because their defense made the most of their opportunities. As an offense, we feel that if our defense is putting us in great situations like that, we have to go out there and take care of the ball and play our game. I think we were trying to press it too much instead of playing.

ET:  Last week you had 98 yards rushing including a run for a touchdown, you caught three passes for 47 more, and a kickoff return for 29 yards. Tell us a little bit about the touchdown run.

MJD:  It was just a downhill run play, the offensive line did a great job of pushing everyone out of the way. After I got the ball I had to follow one of the linemen up the hole and I was able to go right up the middle. After the play he told me that he didn't even have to hit anyone. I got out from behind him and got hit by one of the safeties, but that was it.

ET:  The Jaguars obviously dominated the Titans in practically every area except for on the scoreboard last Sunday. Have you been in a game before where you clearly were winning the battles on the field but came up short on the scoreboard like that?

MJD:  Not really. I've been on the opposite side of that though. In college, we played Stanford and they were dominating us the whole game and they were beating us by 24 points with like eight minutes left. And we came back to win that one. Even though you have the stats in a game like that, the bottom line is they still beat us. Our defense did a great job, but we didn't execute as an offense.  

ET:  What was the main problem for the offense? Do you think (QB) David Garrard and the rhythm of the passing game was off after coming off a game against Indy where you spent so much of the game running the ball?

MJD:  Not at all. As an offense, everybody has to do their part, and we just weren't clicking.  Everybody tries to blame it on David, but we each took our turn breaking it down, including me.

ET:  What did you see on the film that you thought you could have done better to help your team last week?

MJD:  There were a few things, like on pass plays running through the flats. Little things like making sure I'm helping the linemen with the protection, not going out for the pass without making sure I'm chipping a guy. There were a lot of things that I think we can improve on from last week, and we're doing that right now.

(Getty Images/Rick Stewart)
ET:  You've got the Patriots on tap this week. Are you glad you're playing this one in Jacksonville rather than up in New England at this time of year?

MJD:  It doesn't bother me anymore where we play, we just need to get a victory, that's all that really matters. It wouldn't matter to me if we were playing in Antarctica. We're playing the best team over the past ten years, so we've got to get it going and focus on them.

ET:  What have you noticed about New England that's going to be the biggest challenge for you as a running back this Sunday?

MJD: With their defense, running the ball is going to be tough, but that's what we do is run the ball. We're going to have to break tackles, and when I can get out into open field I've got to make them miss and go. Their whole front seven is just amazing. They fly to the ball and play perfect gap defense -- they're really smart out there. Everybody plays their gap and they've got a monster in Vince Wolfork in the middle and (Richard) Seymour right there. We're really going to have to go out there and play tougher and smarter.

ET:  Both Jacksonville and New England have staunch defenses. Do you see any similarities between the two?

MJD: Our defense is totally different than theirs. We run the 4-3 scheme with the two big guys in the middle and we count on our D-line to cause disruption in the middle so our linebackers can make plays. They run the 3-4 and count on their whole front seven to be covering gaps to make plays. Our linebackers are a bit more free to blitz or drop back if our defensive line is creating a ruckus in the backfield where theirs have to play off the ball a bit and play their gaps. The two defenses are doing similar things, they're just approaching it in different ways.

ET:  How well do you know New England rookie running Laurence Maroney and what he brings to their rushing game?

MJD: I know Laurence really well. We became real cool before the draft. We'd see each other in different places and he's a great player and a great person. He goes out there and runs hard, kind of like me.

ET:  What did you like the most about Laurence as a person as you got to know him?

MJD: Oh man, he's just all about having fun. He's not worried too much about anything other than having fun. And that's all that really matters to me too, because as long as I'm having fun it's all going to be all right.


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