Maurice Jones-Drew (Phil Coale/AP)
Good chemistry doesn’t usually win many football games on its own, but bad chemistry can wreck an entire season. The Jaguars experienced that in 2008 as many of the players were more concerned about their own contracts and statistics, and that helped lead to a reversal of 2007’s 11-5 record.
The Jaguars are in a rebuilding stage and part of that rebuilding revolves around getting the players who are currently on the roster on the same proverbial page.
Star running back and face of the franchise Maurice Jones-Drew is not buying in to the team rebuilding.
“I guess that’s what has been written,” Jones-Drew said of the rebuilding philosophy. “I don’t know. I don’t call it rebuilding, I don’t know what that is. You don’t rebuild the Empire State Building, you just add new things to it, right? Upgrade it. We upgraded, that’s all.”
Jones-Drew has decided to start a facial hair movement, as many of the players on the team have been growing beards.
“We’re doing the movement,” Jones-Drew said of the facial hair. “It’s camp, you don’t have to look pretty; you don’t have to be pretty anyway, we’re football players.”
Will beards be the difference between wins and losses for the Jaguars this season? Probably not. But it does make for some early team unity, which is what head coach Jack Del Rio is trying to preach. Del Rio has also vowed to have a much tougher training camp.
“Anytime you end the season when you’re not in the race for the Super Bowl, which is the playoffs, you’re going to have a tougher camp because that’s the goal,” the Jaguars leading returning rusher said.
The Jaguars are trying to become a more unified unit, but that doesn’t always mean that everyone has to go bowling or play shuffleboard together on days off.
“You don’t have to like him, but you have to respect him,” Jones-Drew said of teammates in general. “The game is not about liking and being friends. It’s about respecting the other man. You respect your competition. If you don’t respect, that’s how you lose.”
The Jaguars have an entirely new look in 2009 regarding uniforms, personnel, and now the way they wear their facial hair. Does that make them a Super Bowl contender? Probably not, but they desperately needed some change after last year’s disastrous campaign and if it hurts the Gilette Corporation, that’s at least one way the Jaguars can get even with Patriots owner Robert Kraft (who also owns Gilette).
Check out the new JagNation App for the iPhone. More information on iTunes or CLICK HERE
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive and host of the CB Sports Radio Show on ESPN 1420, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
For more, go to: JagNation.com