DE Marcus Jones believes the deep talent on the Bucs' defensive line makes him a more effective rusher
Over the course of about ten days, more than 1,100 questions were sent in to this web site to be used in an online interview with Buccaneer DE Marcus Jones. Jones, fourth in the NFC with a career-high 10 sacks through 10 games, is certainly a hot topic in Tampa these days, and questions ranged from his musical choices to his most unusual workout routines.
One topic popped up again and again, however: his contract status. Jones was due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Before Buccaneers.com got the opportunity to pose this question during Jones' 'Your Turn' interview on Thursday, he answered it rather emphatically on Wednesday, agreeing to a seven-year contract extension to stay with Tampa Bay.
Luckily, there were still hundreds of pertinent questions to choose from, and Jones sat down with Buccaneers.com on Thursday to field a representative sample of 20 fan concerns. The text results of that interview follow. To watch the video of the interview, please click here.
Your Turn with Marcus Jones, Part 1, November 16, 2000
Moderator: It is Thursday, November 16, 2000, and today we are joined by Buccaneers DE Marcus Jones. As you may have read on this web site just yesterday, Marcus just re-signed with the team, agreeing to a contract extension that could keep him with the team for the rest of his career or close, hopefully.
I know you don't really like not talk about the business end of it – you'd rather discuss what's on the field – but at least let us say that those of us here at One Buc Place, and the fans that took the time to send in over 1,100 questions for this interview, are pleased with this development.
As I just alluded to a moment ago, this is an interview series based on fan input. What we do is take questions off the web site, take about 20 that are a representative sample and then ask them in the fans' own words.
Marcus Jones: Okay.
Jason from Houston, Texas (by way of Tampa - 27 years): What is it like lining up next to the Most Disruptive Force in the NFL (Warren Sapp), and how does it feel to play on a defense touted as one of the league's best?
Marcus Jones: I'll tell you what, the answer to your first question is, there pretty much is no comparison. You have good players in the league, and then you have Sapp. He's such a disruptive force on the field that his every movement seems like it might be effortless. If you look at him off the field, you would never think he could be that type of person on the field. When he gets on the field, he just totally takes over and totally dominates. It's been a pleasure, not only just watching but learning from him. You learn so much just by watching him get off the ball and redirect. It's just been a pleasure.
I enjoy playing on one of the league's best defenses. It says a lot for a player to get the opportunity to play for the Bucs on the defense, since we are a defensive-minded team. It comes with a lot of hard work. You just have to keep working really hard because we feel that, no matter how well we play, we can always get better.
Debbie from Lakeland, Florida: Thanks for being one of the nicest, most accommodating players on the team. It's always such a bonus to see a class act do so well. What has been the biggest change this year in your game that has made you challenge Sapp as the Buccaneers' 'sackmeister'? Who do you think will win the team battle?
Marcus Jones: I think the biggest thing is consistency. A lot of times you'll have a guy that will rush one or two times really well, and that's pretty much it. I've been trying to mimic my game from his a little bit in the sense that, every time he gets a one-on-one rush, which is very rarely, he wins it. So I'm saying to myself, every time I get a one-on-one rush, I'll win it and give myself an opportunity to make more sacks.
Moderator: Do you have a prediction in the race to beat Lee Roy Selmon's record?
Marcus Jones: I'm going to be working really hard, and he's going to be working really hard, because he doesn't want to be second-in-command.
Aaron from Orlando, Florida: Since Tampa doesn't really have too many free agents and you all look to be in your four or five prime years, do you think that you will be the team of the new millennium?
Marcus Jones: I feel that we will. We have the capability, we have the players and the talent. I don't see us getting worse. I always see us getting better for the simple fact that each day we're out there striving to be better. We work with each other, and I think it's like anything else – the longer you have to work with a group of people, the better you get. I think our defensive line, we're locked in for the next three years before anybody else has to come up with a contract deal, so we're good to go for a long while.
Steve from Buccaneers Head Coach Tony Dungy's hometown of Jackson, Michigan: When preparing for a game, how do you get yourself pumped up beforehand?
Marcus Jones: I don't really get 'pumped up,' per se. I try to do a lot of stuff that relaxes me before the game, because you have a tendency before the game to get so worked up that you basically burn yourself out. So what I do the night before a game is a lot of reading and stuff, trying to get my mind off of football itself. Then, around game time, you're already pumped up for the game.
Krisan from Tampa, Florida: What do you think is going to be the biggest challenge when you go to face the Chicago Bears?
Marcus Jones: I think the biggest challenge this weekend when we face the Bears for us personally, the defense, is going to be the offensive line. A lot of people don't realize it, but they have pretty much one of the best offensive lines in our division right now. Big Cat (James Williams) always plays well, and (Blake) Brockermeyer always blocks well. So just from my perspective, I think it's going to be the offensive line.
Mondo from Largo, Florida: I see you as the next dominating defensive end in the NFL. You appear to be able to bullrush tackles deep into their backfields not unlike a Reggie White at times. At other times you finish your rush with a horizontal dive to the legs of the quarterback not unlike a Bruce Smith. I wonder: how soon do you think it will be that the offenses you'll face will start lining up a tight end to help the tackles contain your rush?
Marcus Jones: Well, I hope that will never happen, for the simple fact that we have four guys that can rush the tackle equally well, across the board. You've got Chidi (Ahanotu), Booger (Anthony McFarland)…Booger, he's coming along. He's coming along so quickly, so fast. You just have to compensate for all these guys that we have rushing. That's what we do well, rush the passer. I'm hoping that nobody ever starts to do that.
Moderator: You see that from time to time, I'm sure.
Marcus Jones: Yeah, every now and then you'll get it, but not too much.
Rance from Valrico, Florida: Who is the best offensive lineman you've faced this year?
Marcus Jones: The best offensive lineman I've faced this year? That's hard. I'd have to go with Big Cat. Even though I only get a couple of snaps at left end, I haven't really found that niche. You always find that niche where you can rush somebody real well, whether it be one move that you do that they can't stop. I haven't found that move that I can use against him yet, so I think it's him.
Moderator: What did you think of the Redskins' rookie, Chris Samuels?
Marcus Jones: He was pretty good. He's going to be really good.
Aaron from Kansas City, Missouri: I wanted to be a pro for a long time at this sport, so my question is at what age did you decide that you wanted to play pro football and how hard was it for you to get to this point that you're at now?
Marcus Jones: At what age did I decide I wanted to play pro football? I'd have to say my junior year in college. That's when I decided I really wanted to play, go to the professional level. A lot of times, the guys that play football, they enjoy playing so much that they never really think about what's next. You just go out and play because you enjoy the sport. For me, that's what it's always been. I just enjoyed being out there and getting a chance to hit and have fun. It's always been about fun. You never really think, I'm going to do this and this and this so I can get in the league. You just say, 'Man, I can't wait to play Sunday or I can't wait to play this day.' You just love it.
Moderator: So, for the kids, just have fun and…
Marcus Jones: Yeah, just have fun and it will work itself out. You've got to remember that football is just a sport. If you go into it seeing it that way, it will be fun for you. If you go in there thinking it's work, that's what it will be, work.
James from Spring Hill, Florida: I'm nine years old and my question to you is - Is it hard to get past the offensive linemen?
Marcus Jones: It's really hard. These guys are great athletes just like we are, and they get paid to stop you from getting to the passer. It's really hard.
Rudy Carter from Bradenton, Florida: I'm currently overseas in Belgium serving with the U.S. Army. I have met Marcus on several occasions, as me and his older brother served in the Army together. Marcus, what have you done to improve your game? Do you watch more film, spend more time in the weight room? In your opinion, what has made the difference?
Marcus Jones: Everything, everything. I watch more film, spend more time, not just in the weight room but doing things that are constructive to what I do. Starts and stops and stuff like that. Just spend more time with my coach. Just spend more time around what you enjoy doing, what has gotten you to this point. A lot of times, when people become successful, they forget what's gotten them to that point and then become soft. For me, it's been about getting back to doing the things that got me to this point and to enjoy doing them.
Moderator: I know when I was looking for you during lunch, while everyone else was doing interviews and so forth, you were watching film.
Marcus Jones: I always watch film every chance I get.
Moderator: So I know you're busy, so we appreciate your time. That was the end of the first half of the interview. If you don't mind sticking around, we'll do another 10 and put the results up later in the week.
Marcus Jones: Okay.
Moderator: Good, because we've got some great topics still to get through, including your interests outside of football, whether your teammates have a nickname for you and if reports of a slow-moving Range Rover in your neighborhood are true.
Marcus Jones: A slow-moving Range Rover?
Moderator: They'll see what we mean. Thanks.
Marcus Jones: Any time.
(NOTE: The second half of Marcus Jones' Your Turn interview, including the answers to the above questions, will appear on Buccaneers.com in a few days.)