Jones-Drew denounces Jags' O, moves
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Still reeling from a 41-0 loss at Seattle, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew lashed out at the team's play calling, its lack of offensive identity and its constant shuffling of offensive linemen.
Frustrated? Try furious.
In a 15-minute session with reporters Wednesday, Jones-Drew ripped several aspects of his team. He even called himself the second-highest paid "decoy" in the league, behind New Orleans running back Reggie Bush.
Jones-Drew acknowledged that his bitterness stemmed from the offense's struggles and the humbling shutout in Seattle.
"I don't like to be embarrassed, so I do get upset about it," Jones-Drew said. "You lead by actions. You can only say so much. You can talk to somebody until you're blue in the face and they're not going to do anything. But if you go out there and show why you're upset and you try to do something to correct your mistakes, then they'll pay attention."
Coach Jack Del Rio downplayed his star player's discontentment.
"He's a supreme competitor, and we really love that about him," Del Rio said.
It was Jacksonville's lack of competitiveness that set Jones-Drew off.
The Jaguars had seven three-and-out possessions, two fumbles and a failed fourth-down conversion on their final 10 drives against the Seahawks. David Garrard was sacked four times and fumbled twice. Jones-Drew ran 12 times for 34 yards, and added five receptions. There were dropped passes, poor throws and a season-high nine penalties for 73 yards.
"We have to figure out a way to be consistent," Jones-Drew said. "The running game is like chess. The running game is your pawns. They don't really mean that much in the beginning, but at the end, they surround the king and it's check mate. That's what the running game is.
"We're not going to break 30-yard runs every play. You're going to get 2, 3 yards a pop. You might get a negative run, but [defenses are] going to respect the run game and that's going to open up the pass game and open up the run game later on, where you're going to be breaking 10-, 15-yard chunks."
Jones-Drew questioned the play calling, especially when it was still a close game in the second quarter. The Jags ran Jones-Drew three straight times on first downs, then threw on every other down. Then, after Seattle went ahead 13-0 with 4:43 to play in the first half, Garrard dropped back to pass on three consecutive plays.
"It just seems like now if we don't get 30 yards [rushing], we just go away from it," said Jones-Drew, whose 75 carries are far less than Garrard's 169 passes. "I've never been a part of a team like that."
The Jaguars have typically been a physical, smash-mouth team that tries to run the ball no matter how many defenders are crowding the line of scrimmage. Jones-Drew and former teammate Fred Taylor formed one of the best 1-2 tandems in the league in 2006 and 2007.
That changed last year, but mostly because of line injuries. Even though Jacksonville released Taylor in February, Jones-Drew thought the offensive philosophy would remain the same. Now, he's not sure what to make of the offense.
"I don't know what it is. We're still trying to figure out what our identity is right now," Jones-Drew said. "As soon as we figure that out, I'll gladly be able to let you guys know."
Part of the problem might be the line. The Jaguars have used three different starting lineups the last three weeks, and have shuffled rookie tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton in and out of games.
"That's a big issue," Jones-Drew said. "How can you get continuity, how can you get chemistry going on when guys are rotating in and out? That doesn't happen.
"It's like ballroom dancing. You have to be able to move one way or another at the same time, fluently, otherwise you're going to step on her toes and she's going to step on yours. When your left tackle and left guard have been working together all week, and they're starting to get this chemistry buildup ... then you throw a guy in or you move a guy from here to here, you're throwing off something."
The Jaguars definitely were out of step last week. And what they do the next three games against winless teams -- St. Louis, Tennessee and Kansas City -- could, at the very least, help determined the team's direction.
"Respect is all you can gain now," Jones-Drew said. "It's all about the respect. It's not even about anything else. Do they respect us as an offense? That's the question. And right now, no one respects us. We just got blown out. We didn't put up no points. ... Who respects that? What do you think St. Louis is going to come in here and do?
"We have to go back and gain the respect of everybody in this league this week."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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