Maurice Jones-Drew had a lot more reason to hang up on the media than Mike Tomlin did today.
Jones-Drew may fourth in the NFL in rushing, but the Jaguars will lug a four-game losing streak into Heinz Field where, incidentally, they have won three in a row.
Unlike Tomlin, Jones-Drew was more than happy to chat about a number of subjects, including the Steelers defense and how he has become more of a leader in Jacksonville.
“Their defense is full of game-breakers,” said Jones-Drew, who has rushed for 476 yards and a pair of touchdowns. “(But) before we worry about Pittsburgh and their defense, we have to fix out offense and be confident in what we do. ”
The Jaguars are last in the NFL in passing offense and their struggles stem from instability at quarterback.
They cut David Garrard late in the preseason, turned to journeyman Luke McCown and are now going with rookie Blaine Gabbert, the 10th overall pick of the 2011 draft.
Jones-Drew said he has taken a lead role in overseeing the transition from a veteran quarterback to a rookie one that will make his second career road start Sunday.
“It’s a big deal when you cut your starting quarterback,” Jones-Drew said, “but we have to go out and make plays. (In the past) I would have blown up and been cussing and yelling at people. It’s definitely been a struggle.”
Jones-Drew said he has tried to be an “uplifting” figure as the offense weathers some growing pains. Despite his standing among the NFL’s top rushers, Jones-Drew apparently isn’t shy about critiquing himself.
Jones-Drew is a noted fantasy football player and when asked about his team, he laughed.
“I don’t want to talk about,” he said. “My No. 1 pick isn’t playing well enough for us to win right now. I have to pull him aside and talk to him.”
And was Maurice Jones-Drew Maurice Jones-Drew’s No. 1 pick?
“Yeah, that’s me,” he said.
— Scott Brown