In college, UCLA running back Maurice Jones-Drew was stuck in the shadows of USC’s Reggie Bush. (The diminutive Jones-Drew also once got lost behind a keg of beer.) Since they both moved to the NFL, Jones-Drew has been the far superior player.
But now Jones-Drew has moved the oneupsmanship into a new arena. A day after Bush said that his 6-0 Saints can go undefeated, Jones-Drew said that his 3-3 team is the best in the league.
“I think the Jaguars are,” Jones-Drew said Wednesday, according to the Florida Times-Union. “We have a lot of young guys who are
starting to get their feet under them. You guys expect me to say
He was then asked if his answer is an honest one. “That’s a very honest answer,” Jones-Drew said. “I’m a fan of the
Jaguars. I’m one of those fans, regardless of what the team does, I
still love them. Each week, I think they’re going to be awesome.”
And this is precisely why coaches don’t like it when their players are required to speak extemporaneously.
We know what some of you will say. What else should Bush or Jones-Drew say in situations like this?
For Bush, when asked if his team can run the table, he could have said this: “We can win every game, and we can lose every game. Our goal each week is to win. And we hope that when the dust settles we have enough wins to go to the playoffs.”
For Jones-Drew, he had an even easier way out. “The best team is the team that wins the Super Bowl,” he could have said. “And if we want to be that team we’ve got work to do. I hope my teammates are ready to roll up their sleeves with me.”
So, yes, there are ways to answer these loaded questions honestly and without possibly providing other teams with extra motivation come Sunday or Monday night.
Fortunately for us, plenty of players have yet to figure that out.