Marcedes Lewis has spent eight years in the NFL, all with the Jacksonville Jaguars – which probably hasn’t been easy. The Jaguars are 51-80 during that stretch, including 11-37 over the last three seasons.
And yet, Lewis enters 2014 with a surprising sense of optimism.
“Personally, this is one of the best feelings that I’ve had,” the Jaguars tight end said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I feel great. The way (head coach) Gus (Bradley) has turned around this program, he has the excitement up – not just in the locker room, but in the community. That’s been awesome. The momentum has really been good and you can kind of feel it.”
That’s good – because the Jaguars will be without Maurice Jones-Drew, who signed with Oakland this past offseason. Jones-Drew came into the league in 2006, with Lewis, and accounted for 10,000+ yards and 81 touchdowns in eight seasons.
And now, Jones-Drew, who was born in Oakland, is headed home.
“When you get a certain age in this profession at a certain position, you start to have questions as far as . . . which way you want to go,” Lewis said of the 29-year-old. “But I’m pretty sure he’ll bounce back and do what he always does. We’re just going in a different direction now.”
That direction involves Toby Gerhart, who spent the last four seasons in Minnesota. Gerhart will be the feature back for the Jaguars, but the play-calling doesn’t figure to change much.
“We’re going to run the same plays,” Lewis said. “We’re going to add some plays in to kind of fit our personnel, but Toby is a good running back. Not a lot of carries on his body. He’s definitely (a) fast, quick, strong running back. We’re just building in another direction. Obviously Maurice is like family to me. It was more of a business decision for him and what he had to do for his family. We’re just both moving in different directions. But as far as what we do schematically, we’re pretty solid.”
According to Lewis, he hasn’t heard anyone make fun of the Jaguars for starting a white running back.
“Not yet, not yet,” he said, laughing. “I think that once the season starts and they see him play and see what he really can do, it’s not even really going to matter.”
Regardless of who’s carrying the rock, the Jaguars must get off to a stronger start this year than in 2013, when they began the season 0-8 and 1-9.
“You know what?” Lewis asked. “I’m going to be totally honest with you. We don’t really think about wins out here. We think about playing our personal best and having victory – and victory is playing your personal best and giving our best and living with the results. We don’t really concentrate on winning because that’s not what we can control. We control our preparation. I can tell you that the work that we’re putting in now, we’re paying the price. We’re making hard work deposits so we can take it out on Sunday and whatever happens, happens.”
Lewis, who has caught four touchdown passes in each of the last two seasons, was asked about his fantasy prospects this year.
“I’m not big on predictions, but I will say this is going to be a good year,” he said. “That’s all I’m going to say. But it wouldn’t be a bad decision for you (to draft me).”