Maurice Jones-Drew will have a chance on Sunday to upstage his college football rival, Reggie Bush, but Jones-Drew says all of his efforts will be directed at providing a stage for Jaguars teammate Fred Taylor.
Jones-Drew vs. Bush? No way, said Jones-Drew.
"I see the game as the Jaguars vs. the Saints. I see my man Fred getting 10,000 yards. It's not about me and (Bush). It's about Fred getting 10,000 yards," Jones-Drew said on Wednesday.
Taylor needs 67 yards rushing to reach 10,000 in his career. Should Taylor reach that milestone on Sunday in the Superdome, Jones-Drew said he'll have something special planned in the way of a celebration.
"I will pause the game for awhile … let him say some good things. We may get an Oscar for this," Jones-Drew said.
Will this be the week Taylor does it?
"I don't know. We'll see. I'm a lot closer. I guess it'll be this week if I go out and run as hard as I can. It's right at my seasonal average, which sucks," Taylor said.
If this past Sunday's game plan is any indication, Taylor should have a lot of opportunities to get his yards against the Saints. With quarterback Quinn Gray making his first-ever start, the Jaguars ran the ball on their first 14 plays of the game and finished with a 44-16 run-pass advantage.
Can they do that again and win, as they did in Tampa?
"We always try to establish the run. Whatever we're good at that day, (but) I don't know if we want to do the same thing we did last week," Taylor said.
"(Gray) made a couple of nice throws in the game. We're going to have to throw the ball at some point in the game," coach Jack Del Rio said at his Wednesday press conference.
Jones-Drew will certainly be a major player in the Jaguars' game plan. Jones-Drew has a 5.3 yards per carry average in rushing for 407 yards and four touchdowns this season, and he's averaging 9.8 yards per pass reception in catching 18 passes, the second-most receptions on the team.
Bush has averaged 3.8 yards per carry in rushing for 362 yards and two touchdowns, and 5.4 yards per reception in catching 43 passes, one of which was for a touchdown.
The spotlight has always fallen on Bush, not Jones-
Drew, going back to their days at USC and UCLA respectively. As a result, Bush was made the second pick of the 2006 draft; Jones-Drew was the 60th pick of that draft.
"I don't want to be the star. I like being the bad guy. That's the kind of team we are. We just go out and do it," Jones-Drew said. "It's not like I'm going against him. I'm going against their defense. When you take things personally, you lose the concept of team."
"I'm not keeping a meter," Del Rio said when asked if he'll keep a watch on Taylor's rushing total as he approaches 10,000. "We're just trying to win the game."
It's all about the team concept for the Jaguars, who will play without starting quarterback David Garrard at least one more week. The Jaguars won in Tampa because a lot of bottom-of-the-roster players turned in significant contributions. That is likely to be the game plan again this week.