The Shutdown Corner interview with Maurice Jones-Drew

The fine people at Gatorade hooked Shutdown Corner up with an interview with Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew(notes). Here is that interview.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Yo.

MJD: Hey, Maurice, it's nice to talk to you.

Jones-Drew: MJD, how are you?

MJD: I'm doing good, man, how are you?

Jones-Drew: Awesome.

MJD: Glad to hear it. So listen, I though we had this whole MJD thing sorted out.

Jones-Drew: I thought we did, too, man. You were supposed to change. You were supposed to put "2" at the end.

MJD: You know, that's not how I remember it, actually.

Jones-Drew: How do you remember it?

MJD: You said you were going to tell people to call you "Merlin."

Jones-Drew: I was! But "MJD" sounds so much better.

MJD: Yeah, I know. That's why I like it.

I figured you could put -- you have to put "3" by yours, because my son is MJD 2.

MJD: Man, so I'm all the way down to 3?

Jones-Drew: It's all good. It's still love. You're still in the family. You're not disowned or anything.

MJD: I was going to propose that we settle this over a game of Madden.

Jones-Drew: That would be awesome.

MJD: You ready for that?

Jones-Drew: I'm pretty unstoppable in this Madden right now, so ... that's pretty awesome.

MJD: We'll have to work that out.

Jones-Drew: All right.

MJD: Well, first, I had read that your mom wasn't doing well. How is she doing?

Jones-Drew: She's doing much better today. I talked to her this morning. She sounds better. She's still a little beat up, though, and they're still trying to figure out what type of meningitis it is, so we'll see.

MJD: Well, I'm glad she's feeling better, anyway. So with your mother being sick, and so many other guys opting not to play in the Pro Bowl, why was it important for you to play?

Jones-Drew: Well, obviously, it was my first one, and she was real excited about me playing in it. She wanted the MVP, but I didn't get a chance to get it like I thought I was, so, you know, it happens. She was still excited about it. She was watching from the hospital, having a great time. That's all that really mattered. As long as she was excited, she was fine with me.

MJD: Good. And you did have a fine game, but I'm curious. What was the deal with the big hug of the Vikings mascot after the touchdown?

Jones-Drew: Oh! That was the Mariucci, you know how he always cries when Brett Favre(notes) leaves. And so he might be leaving Minnesota this year, we don't know. So I was just giving him a hug like he was No. 4, and I was Mariucci. And then Jaxson De Ville was kind of just consoling me as I was walking off the field.

MJD: Yeah, it kind of seemed like Jaxson kind of wouldn't let go. It was borderline inappropriate. It was kind of uncomfortable.

Jones-Drew: Ah, that's my man. He does some things. I don't know if you guys saw him streaking, but he did the streaking.

MJD: I didn't catch that.

Jones-Drew: Yeah, it was during one of the timeouts, he was streaking, which was pretty cool. And then he tried doing the Michael Jackson Thriller dance, which was funny.

MJD: Nice.

Jones-Drew: Yeah, he's really talented.

MJD: So, tell me the truth. When you watch the Pro Bowl, the commentators are trying to sell the idea that you really care about it, but when you watch the game, it doesn't always look that way. On a scale of one to 10, where 10 is maybe the Super Bowl, and one is a friendly game of Scrabble with the neighbors, how much do you really want to win that game?

Jones-Drew: I think, to tell you the truth, the game really -- the main thing is coming out healthy. Because you don't want to get hurt in the Pro Bowl, and then to go back and get treatment and all that stuff. You want to continue your offseason. But it does get a little intense. It gets a little intense when the fourth quarter comes and everybody's trying to get that extra money that's on the line. So it gets a little intense, because obviously, a lot of players bring their family members down, and they do all this crazy stuff. And you definitely gotta get that extra money to help you out. I'd give it like an eight. The fourth quarter's when it turns up, and you start seeing the real speed of the game.

MJD: Right. Speaking of money, I read that you took your entire offensive line and a couple of backups to Miami with you?

Jones-Drew: Yeah.

MJD: So, I bet you were OK with the game being in Miami and not Hawaii. Probably saved you a lot of money.

Jones-Drew: Oh, no. Some of the guys didn't show up, but the majority of them did. It was fun. It was fun. A lot of guys, they have their family, and some guys have multiple children, so they didn't want to have to ship everybody down, and all that good stuff.

MJD: What do you think is sort of missing from the Jaguars that they need to become a playoff team every year, and be in that championship conversation, year-in, year-out? What's missing?

Jones-Drew: I really think it's just that we're young. So experience is the big thing. I'm a veteran, and it's only my fourth year in the league. You know, I'm one of the older guys on the team. A little bit of experience, and that's going to come. I think we've got a nucleus of guys who are doing a great job and our GM's doing a hell of a job drafting guys and getting guys in. You know, you draft two tackles, and at first, they were struggling a little bit, but they played amazing toward the end, and that's what you ask. You ask that guys get better throughout the year, and that's what they did. And so, that's something that I think we're going to grow with, and whoever they bring in, they're going to have to come in and work, and there is no rookie -- at least for right now -- there is no rookie waiting period for us. You've got to come in and make plays.

MJD: What happened to you guys over the last five or six games of the season? How do you explain what happened?

Jones-Drew: I really don't know, to tell you the truth. You know, we just didn't play well, or at least not well enough to win. Some games we played excellent, and some games we didn't. And we didn't play as a team. You know, one game, our defense had a great game. The next game, our offense had a great game, and the defense didn't. Some games, both of us didn't play well at all. And it was just so much, you know, going back and forth, that it really wasn't beneficial for the organization.

MJD: So you're a UCLA guy, of course, so you're familiar with USC and Pete Carroll.

Jones-Drew: Right.

MJD: So what was your first reaction when you saw that he was leaving USC for the Seahawks job?

Jones-Drew: It's a business. That's a business decision.

MJD: Do you think he'll be a good coach in the NFL?

Jones-Drew: Yeah, definitely. He's going to have a tough task, but he's still a great coach. He's going to get players in there, and he's going to have a good time. He's going to make those guys enjoy the moment and have fun with football.

MJD: Now, you never beat USC while you were there, correct?

Jones-Drew: Nope. Never beat 'em.

MJD: Any extra motivation when you play the Seahawks next year to stick it to Pete Carroll?

Jones-Drew: Do we play the Seahawks next year?

MJD: I believe you do. Let me see.

Jones-Drew: We do? We got demolished when we played 'em this year, so ...

MJD: You know, I'm not sure.

Jones-Drew: If we do, it wouldn't be because of Pete, it would be because we lost 41-0 last year.

MJD: Yeah, that would do it. So let me ask you this about playing in Jacksonville. They only sold out one game this year. Does that make it more difficult to get hyped up for a game? Do you feel like you're missing out on a home field advantage that other teams have?

Jones-Drew: You know, sometimes, it is. But as entertainers, we have to entertain who is there. So the people that are going to be there, the people that are willing to come, that's what we'll do. We encourage everybody to come out there, but we definitely want the fans to come and enjoy the journey with us, and some did. Obviously, we sold out the game against the Colts. We've got to get people more excited about football in Jacksonville, and they should be. We had two guys in the Pro Bowl, and we're a very young team that's excelling and they should want to come and join it.

MJD: You want to tell us about what you're doing with Gatorade today?

Jones-Drew: Ah, yes. Well, actually, Gatorade's doing a thing where they have scientists who are going to hook us up to all these different things, and they're going to show us if we're burning carbohydrates or if we're burning fat. And that's very helpful for a guy like myself who's a big trainer, you know, teaching me what I need to eat more of. So if I'm burning more fat, I need to eat more fat and less carbohydrates. If I'm burning more carbohydrates, I need to be eating more carbohydrates and less fat. It helps you be able to lean your body and tone up, and be able to last longer. And also, they have these three different drinks, it's called the G Series, and there's a drink before, that gives you a little boost of energy before you work out, there's one to maintain your energy during your workout, and there's another one that recovers your body after. And what that does is, it allows you to do more vigorous workouts, longer. And as a player, that's what you want to do. It's the right stuff, it's nothing illegal. And that's kind of how I am. So teaming up with Gatorade is a big deal.

MJD: Sounds good. So obviously, you're familiar with the Colts and their defense, and the news today is all about Dwight Freeney(notes) and his ankle. He might not be able to go. If he can't go, how does that change things for the Colts?

Jones-Drew: It's gonna be tough, because obviously, Mathis and Freeney, they feed off each other. You can't block both of them. So when one's down, you definitely can focus on the other. I still think that they'll find a way, you know, I think Freeney will play. He always finds a way to play. Even though they're saying all this stuff about it, he'll find a way to play. He always does, especially in big games.

MJD: So you like the Colts in the game?

Jones-Drew: I like the AFC, always.

MJD: All right. Just two more for you. First, Conan O'Brien or Jay Leno?

Jones-Drew: I don't watch either one, so ... (Asking guys in the car with him) Conan O'Brien or Jay Leno? Yeah, the car I'm in, no one watches either. We'll say Letterman.

MJD: All right, fair enough. Last thing. What's the best thing about being Maurice Jones-Drew?

Jones-Drew: He's just like everybody else, man. But he is a beast on -- you know what? Scratch that. The best thing about myself is that I'm unstoppable at Call of Duty, World at War II and Madden. Quin Clay is the name. It means "peace" in Japanese. Straight up.

MJD: All right man. I'm gonna look you up on the XBox. We're going to get this figured out.

Jones-Drew: Yeah, and put down for that Gatorade thing, you can G-Stream it this week (note: I believe he meant UStream), and you can go to and look and check it out.

MJD: All right, I'll do that.

Jones-Drew: And they can see Quin Clay, working out, at his finest.

MJD: All right, man, I appreciate your time. Have a good one.

Jones-Drew: All right.


Gatorade Performance Lab at Super Bowl XLIV

The Gatorade Performance Lab is a sports science facility which provides an inside look at the real research Gatorade conducts with elite athletes. Throughout the week scientists from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) will use the specially designed lab to conduct athlete performance tests on a host of elite football stars like Eli Manning(notes), Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Lewis(notes), Sam Bradford, and many more. The cutting-edge tests will measure various fitness levels, and the athletes will use the new G Series of products to maximize performance before (Prime), during (Perform) and after (Recover) activity. Gatorade designed the G Series, which hits stores this spring, based on the science, performance testing and feedback from athletes that you'll see firsthand this week testing with the sports performance innovator.