Maurice Jones-Drew Urges Jaguars Not to Panic; It Worked for Colts
Jones-Drew, the Jaguars' Pro Bowl running back and very much the face of the franchise, said while the team has struggled in the last two games, there's nothing to be gained Sunday by playing as if there's a ton of pressure. Even if there is, Jones-Drew said that's no formula for winning.
And in fact, he said the opposite is true.
"We're on the right track and doing some things to get ready for the Colts," Jones-Drew said this week as the Jaguars (1-2) prepared to play the defending AFC South and AFC champion Colts (2-1) in Jacksonville Sunday.
"First thing is having fun, playing fast, preparing the best we can and just going out there and having a good time. I think these last couple of weeks we weren't having fun as an offense. We weren't having fun as an offense and obviously when you're having fun you're scoring points.
"I think that's one of the main things we have to focus on."
Things hardly have been fun for anyone around the Jaguars in recent weeks. After a season-opening victory over the Denver Broncos, they have been clobbered in their last two games -- 38-13 to San Diego and 28-3 to Philadelphia. It's the first time in franchise history Jacksonville has lost back-to-back games by 25 points.
Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said the best model for how to handle the current situation may come from their opponent this week.
The Jaguars in December 2006 beat the Colts, 44-17, in Jacksonville, a game in which the Colts allowed 375 yards rushing. The Colts won the Super Bowl that season.
"I think you recognize over the years the things that work and I thought (then-Colts coach) Tony Dungy did an unbelievable job years ago when we put that beat-down on them here and we ran the ball all over them," Del Rio said. "They asked Tony what was he going to do, and there was no panic. He very calmly said, 'We're going to continue to do what we do, just do it better.' And that's where we are right now; we need to do what we do and we need to do it better.
"They got shredded in our game and games before that and then they righted the ship and then they had a lot of fun. When you believe in what you're doing you've got to have the courage to stay with it and the faith and that's what we're doing right now."
The Jaguars don't look like a Super Bowl team now, but in the preseason and regular-season opener, they looked substantially better than the team that has lost its last two games 66-16. Quarterback David Garrard, too, looked better than the quarterback who has thrown five interceptions in two weeks.
Statistics like that don't lend themselves to fun, but if the Jaguars can find a way to win Sunday, or at least play the Colts tough -- things could relax a bit in Jacksonville.