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Marcedes Lewis on Long Beach Poly, the Jags, David Garrard, Maurice Jones-Drew

LBS interviewed Pro Bowl tight end Marcedes Lewis at the premiere for 4th and Forever, a series that debuts Thursday evening on Current TV. The show follows Marcedes’ alma mater, Long Beach Poly, throughout their football season last year. We talked about Lewis’ time at Long Beach Poly, including the infamous game between Poly and De La Salle where his future teammate Maurice Jones-Drew scored four touchdowns. We talked about the all around improvement in Marcedes’ game, what led to his sudden emergence as a pass catcher last season, and about the Jags’ quarterback situation now that they drafted Blaine Gabbert to compete with David Garrard. Find out who he says is the best player to come out of Long Beach Poly and whether or not he’s enjoying his time during the lockout:

Some of the highlights from the interview were Marcedes saying he works hard to improve every aspect of his game, even the way he watches film and takes notes. He said that part of the reason his receiving stats haven’t been gaudy is because the Jags are a running team. “We are a run-first team,” Lewis explained. “Run the ball, give it to Maurice, let him do his thing, play action.”

He also said the team is responsible for stepping up to help David Garrard keep his job. “Dave is a guy that’s hungry, he wants to be great,” Lewis said. “Everybody else around Dave is going to have to step up to continue to bust our butt to play hard, make it easier for Dave.”

And talking about Maurice Jones-Drew, Marcedes said “Maurice is out to prove people wrong. He’s been doing that since I first saw him play. He’s an exceptional talent.”

And who is the best football player to come out of Poly? Marcedes believes it’s him, though he meant it in a confident way, not a cocky one.

Rashad Jennings Is a Must-Have Fantasy Backup to Maurice Jones-Drew

It’s the finals of fantasy football for many leagues, and if not that then we’re deep into the playoffs. Unfortunately for some owners they have to worry about stud

Maurice Jones-Drew, upon whom they relied for the regular season. Jones-Drew, who had a stretch of six straight 100-yard games, sat out the final few drives for the Jags against the Colts Sunday. MJD ended up with just 15 totes, his fewest amount since week two, but says his knee was not to blame.

Complicating matters is the fact that Jones-Drew missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday because of his knee. The Jags have said they’ll announce Maurice’s status for Sunday’s game on Friday. Fantasy owners would be wise to pick up backup Rashad Jennings if they haven’t already. Jennings is a fully-capable back who scored touchdowns in weeks 12-14 for Jacksonville. If MJD ends up unable to play in a critical game for the Jags, Jennings will be a good roster replacement.

UPDATE: MJD is doubtful and reportedly unlikely to play. Start Jennings.

Jon Gruden Slips Maurice Jones-Drew the Secret Handshake

Any time Jon Gruden is on TV breaking down film with a player, I’m watching. I love seeing what he’s like as a coach and what it’s like being in his office breaking down film.

Prior to Monday night’s game between the Titans and Jaguars, ESPN aired a clip of Gruden visiting with Jags running back Maurice Jones-Drew. The two broke down film, discussed mascots, Gruden gave a shout out to Ryan Grant, and he paid tribute to Maurice by comparing him with Barry Sanders. It was a fun chat, and you could tell Gruden was fond of Maurice. Then at the end of the interview, the two men shook hands but Chucky slipped Maurice the secret handshake highlighted by the extended index finger. MJD appeared to do the same, though his hand was covered:

Is this an NFL fraternity shake? An elite running back club shake? I dunno what club they’re a part of, but I sure want in. Gruden also caused some ripples from viewers going overboard gushing over Maurice’s large thighs. Hey, he was talking running backs — I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it, but others were freaking out. Just to satisfy other people’s complaints, I’ll give Gruden a pause for that.

Was Maurice Jones-Drew’s Decision to Kneel at the 1 the Right Move?

Maurice Jones-Drew is getting a ton of praise for his awareness, selflessness, and foresight to kneel down at the 1 yard line in the final two minutes of the Jags/Jets game on Sunday. The Jags were down by a point, 22-21, with the clock at 1:48 and running, and they had the ball at the 10 yard line. The Jets decided to let Jones-Drew walk in for the touchdown so that they’d have a 1:30 or so left to try and score a touchdown to win it. Instead, MJD outfoxed them based on what his coaches instructed him to do:

From the moment Maurice went down I was saying it was the wrong move. Considering the Jaguars were losing at the time he did it, he was taking a big risk that they could wind up losing the game if something went wrong. When you make the decision what you have to weigh is the likelihood of the Jags botching the field goal with a bad hold, snap, or kick against Jacksonville’s chances of stopping the Jets from scoring a touchdown in 1:30. To me, there’s a greater chance of something going wrong with the game-winning field goal than the Jets going 80 yards or so in 1:30. Maurice is getting lauded for wearing his thinking cap and making the unselfish play but I thought it was the wrong move. Luckily it worked out for the 5-4 Jags but imagine how bad he would have looked for not taking the free points if something went wrong with the kick.

Nothing Wrong with Reggie Bush or Maurice Jones-Drew’s Comments

Reggie Bush Maurice Jones-DrewBoth Reggie Bush and Maurice Jones-Drew are taking some heat for comments they made this week. Funny, aren’t the two always grouped together? Anyway, Bush responded to a question on The Monty Show on Sporting News Radio as to whether or not the 6-0 Saints could go undefeated. His answer was what you would expect: “Yes. I do think we have the players, we have the chemistry, we have the heart and dedication, we have the coaching staff, we have the players.” Not that anyone outside of the ’72 Dolphins and sorta the ’07 Patriots have a clue what it takes, but what’s wrong with Reggie’s comments? Why shouldn’t he have confidence in his team and expect them to win all their games?

On a related note, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew was asked who he thought the best team in the league was. His answer was exactly what I would expect: “I think the Jaguars are. We have a lot of young guys who are starting to get their feet under them. You guys expect me to say anybody else? That’s a very honest answer. I’m a fan of the Jaguars. I’m one of those fans, regardless of what the team does, I still love them. Each week, I think they’re going to be awesome.” Players should take pride and have confidence in their team. Why shouldn’t they believe in themselves and their teammates? I don’t see anything wrong with either player’s answer. In fact, if they’d answered with anything other than “no comment,” I’d probably have been disappointed.

Also, our friends at National Football Post are running a contest where they’re flying out fans to the Chargers/Eagles game in San Diego and providing hotel accommodations and game tickets. Go here to register.

Jones-Drew vs. Merriman Round One

Goes to Maurice. Not bad for a 5’7″ dude going up against a former steroids offender. Of course, if you ask me, I don’t know how shocked I am by the play. Mo has been underestimated his entire career and is capable of doing anything at this point. And that would include pancaking a ferocious linebacker that outweighs him by 60 pounds:

Mo is such a badass, I love him. But apparently he’s not even the hardest worker on his own team.