Super Bowl, New Gatorade, and Hard Work: Q&A With Maurice Jones-Drew
Having run for 30 yards and a score on five carries in Sunday's Pro Bowl—his first all-star appearance in four seasons as a pro—Jones-Drew showed up to the Gatorade Lab for a light 30-minute cycling session to test his fitness.
The testing also involved a sneak peek at the G Series. By adding a pre-workout energy booster and post-workout protein drink to their time-tested Thirst Quencher, the scientists at Gatorade have produced a trio intended to "Prime" athletes for the game, fuel them to "Perform," and help them "Recover" afterward.
Before getting measured and hooked up to Gatorade's workout station, Jones-Drew took time to chat with Jack Harver, one of Bleacher Report's featured columnists.
Jack Harver: First off, congratulations on making this year's Pro Bowl.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Thanks.
JH: They did it a bit different this year: prime-time TV, same city as the Super Bowl, and right in the middle of all the buildup to the Super Bowl. Do you feel like you've missed out on the Hawaiian vacation of Pro Bowls past?
MJD: I think some of the players were a little upset, but this was my first time so I was just excited to be a part of it and enjoyed it.
JH: You and David Garrard represented the Jaguars in the Pro Bowl this year, and Rashean Mathis and John Henderson have gone in years past. Who do you think is the next Jaguar we'll see in the Pro Bowl?
MJD: We have some great players. Marcedes Lewis at tight end, Greg Jones is one of the better fullbacks, Mike Sims-Walker, Mike Thomas is a great play-maker. We have some guys, obviously.
On defense, there's Reggie Nelson at safety, Justin Durant, Daryl Smith, and Rashean Mathis has been there before. We have some guys that are ready to step up. Our kicker, Josh Scobee, might even be the next guy to make it.
JH: This whole season, you maintained that the Jaguars were Super Bowl bound 'til the bitter end. I was really impressed by your confidence and the positive attitude it showed. You guys didn't make it to Sunday's big game, but are there still pluses to taking part in Super Bowl week?
MJD: Really, the appearances [for Gatorade] are just the business side. I don't go to the game, but I do watch it on TV. Being here, you see what it takes to get there, how hard you need to work. We know how hard we need to work to get to 7-5, and now we know how much more it takes to finish strong.
JH: As far as your part in this week's events, I'd like to hear about these workouts you're doing for Gatorade. I saw that they had [New York Jets offensive tackle] D'Brickashaw Ferguson hooked up to a few of their machines this morning in the Performance Lab and exercising. What's going on?
MJD: It's a way to help train more efficiently, to find out whether you're burning more calories, carbohydrates, or fat—which is a big help for me, since I'm a "train-a-holic."
They've got three drinks for before, during, and after your workouts, so you can work more efficiently. The tests show you that you can have a tougher, longer workout if you get the right fuel and eat the right foods.
JH: It'd be an understatement to say that you seem to keep track of your fitness. There's the article in Men's Fitness, your offseason work with Fred Taylor, and your body-mass index must be off the charts. Have you done this sort of testing before?
MJD: I haven't done this before, but I've done something like it. [Jaguars strength and conditioning coach] Luke Richesson has done a test where they measure your lung capacity and how much oxygen you can hold, so the coaches know how hard they can run you. But Gatorade's testing is more scientific.
Luke's wife [Olympic gold medalist Anita Nall-Richesson] is a swimmer, and she showed us a blood test that shows you what foods you're allergic to. But this is telling you, for instance, if you're digesting more carbs than you are protein.
JH: Do you think the new G Series products will be a big step up from what Gatorade's done for you in-game before?
MJD: Definitely. They're trying to enhance their product. With them working hard to be better, it's definitely helping us to be better.
JH: In terms of your workouts and training: After 16 games of punishment, how do you handle this stretch of the off-season before minicamps and OTAs [organized team activities]?
MJD: I start in March, trying to get my weight back down to what I want it to be. I have a good time in January and February, hang out with the family. So I start with a "cleanse" and get back to eating the food that I'll eat during the season, trying to get my weight down as low as I can. Then it's a matter of maintaining that weight until June and July when I start running and heavier training.
JH: I'm sure the team will spend that time looking for rookie talent to put around you. Still, one of the biggest keys to a better 2010 season for you and the Jaguars is the continued improvement of last year's rookie tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton. How would you rate their progress after a year in the league?
MJD: They're tremendous. They did a great job. If you go on a scale of 1-10, from Week 1 to Week 17, they made a "12" jump. It's tough, because coming out they played against two of the best defensive ends in the league [Indianapolis' Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.]
Obviously, we all have a lot of room to work hard and grow.
JH: Sunday, the Saints will play in their franchise's first-ever Super Bowl. What do you think is the biggest key for you guys to break the Jaguars' Super Bowl drought next year?
MJD: I think, as players, we have to get five percent better. If we all get five percent better, that'll be 200% of the team. We're not a team that can just show up. We're young, we're hungry, and we're going to work you to death.
JH: I'm sure you're plenty busy today, but before I let you go I've got to thank you for carrying all five of my fantasy teams to championship games. Three of those are keeper leagues, so good luck next year.
MJD: No problem, and thanks.
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