Things will be much different this time around. Of that, Maurice Jones-Drew is certain.
The Jacksonville running back will return Sunday to the scene of the crime – well, almost – when the Jaguars journey to MetLife Stadium for a rematch two years in the making.
Jones-Drew, known best by Jets fans for kneeling at the one-yard line in a 24-22 Jags’ victory at the Meadowlands two years ago, is aware the Jets will look much different this time around.
“It doesn’t help that they draft these two big rookies in there to stop the run. Last time we played, they didn’t have Kris Jenkins, but they added a similar-type of guy in their second or third-round pick out of Hampton,” he said, referring to Kenrick Ellis. “He’s about 300 and – they say 56, but I mean, that’s pretty generous.
“They do a great job of stopping the run. Obviously, David Harris, two more years in the league, has given them so much more experience. …They added Cromartie, who definitely allows them to stack the box a little bit more and be able to take care of the outside. So we have some problems we have to deal with. …They present so many different match-up problems for us.”
Jones-Drew, who was quite entertaining during Wednesday’s conference call with the New York media, said the Jets gave away their strategy when Marques Douglas (now a Tennessee Titan) mistakenly tackled him on the prior play.
“I remember one of the guys yelling at him for tackling and I was like, ‘Why would they do that?’" he said. “So the coaches called timeout, we came back to the sidelines and coach Del Rio said, ‘Listen, they’re trying to let you score. The best thing for us right now as a team is to not put our defense back out there. Take a knee, you’ll get the first down and then we’ll be able to run the clock out.’”
Rex Ryan said had his team not messed up and made the tackle on the one-yard line, Jones-Drew would have “taken the bait.” The Jets head coach also joked that he wouldn’t throw Douglas under the bus.
“Ten of us knew not to tackle,” he said with a smile.
….Oh, and if you were wondering if Jones-Drew feels bad about screwing your fantasy team with that kneel-down stunt…
“My teammates were pretty pissed off, but I told them it was for the right reason,” the running back said. “And then coach Del Rio kind of explained it after. The fans, obviously, they hated it. But at the same time, you know, fantasy is a fun thing, it’s a hobby for me. It doesn’t pay the bills.”