Conference Call: Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew

**

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RB MAURICE JONES-DREW**

(on how his injured wrist is feeling)

It's feeling alright.  A little sore, but I guess that's part of the game.  It feels alright though.

(on if he's looking forward to 'MJD vs. CJ' on Monday Night Football)

I wouldn't say that much, it's more of two offenses who love to run the ball and be explosive in the passing game—obviously Tennessee did that last week against Dallas.  I think the real talk is about the defenses, Tennessee is coming in with 22 sacks.  That's crazy, to lead the league and I think the next person under them might be 14 or 15 and (Tennessee) had 12 in the last two games, so they're getting after the quarterback.  Also they're getting those sacks rushing four; they're not doing any extra blitzes.  So they're getting pressure with four guys and having seven back to cover, so that helps out a bunch.  I think that will be our toughest task, and then obviously for our defense stopping CJ (Chris Johnson) and Vince Young, those are some things we'll have to work on.  It's going to be the Jaguars vs. the Titans, and I know everybody wants to make it a running back dual or whatever but I have a lot of other things to worry about than CJ right now—11 other guys.

(on what he knows about the Titans defensive lineman)

Well I played with Dave Ball in college, so I know all about him.  He's been working hard since he got to Tennessee and he's been playing every year.  He finally has a chance to start and he's playing well.  Obviously, Jason Babin was a first-round pick and he's coming around.  He's a guy who's getting to the quarterback.  Their defensive tackles are doing a great job of forcing the quarterback out of the pocket to those defensive ends.

(on if it is impressive that the Titans are getting so much production out of lesser known guys)

Obviously, their coach is doing a great job with them, but there is talent all over this league and you just have to find it.  They seem to have found UCLA so I'm thinking they're going to the well a little bit too much—obviously they've got Alterraun Verner who is a great corner coming out of there.  He's playing well.  He had a pick last week—he should have scored, but we'll have to talk to him about that after the game.

(on if he lobbied for the Jaguars to draft Alterraun Verner)

I really don't get into that.   We do a great job of drafting guys here, and obviously Verner is a great player, great person but we just needed other positions to be taken care of and we did a great job of that.

(on what he remembers about Dave Ball's playing style from his time with him at UCLA)

Him and his twin brother both were NFL material, I thought.  I was coming out of high school and these guys were running around getting sacks.  It seemed like they led the country in sacks when they were there.  They were getting sacks every other week, two or three times a game.  They were flying around.  Going to Tennessee and seeing that he was battling for a spot, it was kind of like 'wow, the NFL is serious.'  Now he finally has his chance and he is relishing that opportunity.

(on the difference in Marcedes Lewis this year)

He has always been a weapon.  Obviously, he is a big target and he has slimmed up a little bit.  He is much faster than he was and he is healthier.  The last couple of years he has been banged up a little bit.  He is just flying around.  I think he is one of the best all-around tight ends in the game.  You have a lot of tight ends that can catch the ball.  You have a lot of tight ends that can block.  You don't have too many that can do both.  He is a dominant blocker in the run game and then he is a great weapon in the passing game.  He kind of opens it up for myself, Mike Sims-Walker, Mike Thomas and other guys to catch the ball.

(on Marcedes Lewis enjoying a big season in a contract year)

That is always good as well.

(on the emotional difference in Cortland Finnegan during the game and when shaking hands with him after the game)

We really don't shake hands too much after the game.  I have hung out with him in the offseason.  He is a good guy.  He is just like me, he is a guy that is battling week after week going against some of the best competition at wide receiver and he has to have an edge to him and that is how he plays.  Hearing all these different things about their dirty, that is football.  I don't understand how someone can say they are playing dirty.  Football is not a nice-guy game.  You are not supposed to be nice to the guy; you are not supposed to help a guy up after you tackle him.  We don't expect that here, that is not how we play.  It is funny to hear people say that they are not a nice team.  Why would you want to be a nice team in such a violent game?  It is good that they are living up to what football is really about and that reputation.

(on who has the meaner team)

We are going to find out on Monday, I'll tell you that.  We will find out on Monday.

(on the success of the short passing game and whether that draws more defenders closer to the line to defend the run)

Ever since I have been in the NFL, when you look at Jacksonville we have gone against eight or nine man boxes every year regardless of who is in the backfield or not.  People just know what we like to do.  The scheme has helped us out a bunch these last couple of weeks, but we are having fun.  Everybody is going out regardless of what happens the play before, we are just moving on to the next play and having a great time, laughing and I think that is what is allowing us to play well.  We have thrown the ball down the field.  I think Marcedes (Lewis) caught like a 30-yard pass for a touchdown, it was over 20 I think.  So we are throwing the ball down the field, it is not that we are not.  You can have the best quarterback in the world, if the receivers aren't catching the balls he is throwing, how good is he?  That is kind of how we feel.  Those times that we were struggling, we weren't helping by making plays.  Dave (Garrard) was putting the ball in the air where we had opportunities to catch it and to make plays and we weren't.  We are just going to continue to have fun, go out there and work hard week after week and do whatever we can to continue to make plays.

(on any tough fantasy lineup decisions this week)

I have Ben Roethlisberger.  I drafted him in like the seventh round and he is coming back.  I don't have anyone from Tennessee, so I don't have to sit anyone this week.

(on playing David Garrard over Ben Roethlisberger)

In one league I have two quarterbacks, so I can play David.  Actually, I don't have him in that league.  In the other league, I just got the best trade offer for him, so no disrespect or anything, but my team is struggling and I think we are 1-3.  I have to find some ways to get some victories.

(on whether he is dealing Garrard)

I don't know yet.  We are going to find out.

(on the trade offer)

I just got a text message saying they just sent me one, so I'm going to figure it out.  I'll get back to you guys tomorrow if you guys want to call and I'll let you know.

(on if he heard Chris Hope's comment in training camp that Rennie Curran and Maurice Jones-Drew are the only players in the league that wear their height as their jersey number)

No. That is original though.  That is funny.  Chris is great guy.  I know him pretty well through Greg Jones.  That is part of the league.  That is a part of having a good time.  You have to have some thick skin to play in this league.  That is good that they are cracking jokes.  At least he recognizes my number and stuff and recognizes who I am.

(on using his height as motivation)

Not until I got into the draft because it went against me.  Other than that, I play football to have fun.  Obviously, in the draft people were saying they were scared of my durability because of how tall I am.  I wish I could change it but my parents, that is up to them.  That has nothing to do with me.  Even then when I did try to change it by growing my hair out, they cut me down like two inches.  It didn't help.

(on being able to bust long runs in the game in Nashville last year)

I really don't know.  We were throwing the ball early, so they were playing softer coverages and we starting running the ball and we were able to break a couple of big runs.  Overall, besides those two runs they were stuffing us.  They did a great job up there.  Those guys are playing hard granted they have a couple of new starters, but it is still the same defensive coordinator who when I heard used to play was one of those real nasty guys, which is good.  That is what football is about.  It is going to be a fun game.  I hope everybody enjoys it.

(on the importance of the game with all the AFC South teams at 3-2)

I think that is going to be the storyline for this game besides all the little individual things.  This is a very big game.  It is going to be a playoff atmosphere.  Everyone down here is real amped up for it.  Obviously, after the last game we had Chris (Johnson) rushing for a bunch of yards and you guys coming out victorious that was something that was hard for us to swallow.  We have a lot of work to do down here to get better.  We still can improve from last week.  We didn't play anywhere from where we can play last week.  We are just going to keep working hard preparing for Tennessee and Coach Fisher.

(on if he is surprised about the NFL being a pass happy league)

They are throwing the ball a lot around the yard.  It is not too good for me and a couple of other running backs in the league, but it is working.  This league is about whatever you can do to make it where it is a copy-cat league.  If one team throws well against a defense, the next team is going to try to do the same thing.  That is just how it is sometimes.  You have to understand the game and the business and just roll with it.

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