Taylor: Expects Greatness

Veteran star Fred Taylor talked to the Indianapolis media this week. The running back was asked about his long-overdue trip to the Pro Bowl, what it's like week in and week out in the tough AFC South, and more. See what the quotable leader of the Jags had to say -- and why he wishes Bob Sanders was going to be playing this Sunday.

On making the Pro Bowl:

"I was never really worried about it, or even cared. I always felt like from my own perspective and that of my peers, that I was always worthy. So I didn't really care a whole lot, but to finally get an opportunity to go, I think the thing that I probably miss the most out of the entire thing was the camaraderie with the fellows, guys that you see doing these big-time commercials, Peyton (Manning) would probably be the first example, LaDainian (Tomlinson) and a couple of other guys are in there. Those guys are just down to earth. They are professionals, but they are human. They're all silly, just joking around, having a great time, relaxing, enjoying their family and friends. When it's time to play, they're always assertive and being the professionals that they're supposed to be. The camaraderie was the thing that I miss, and the Hawaiian people. They are very friendly people, very nice."

On everyone saying ‘about time' of him making the Pro Bowl:

"They said that the entire week, everybody, both teams, all of the coaches, the fans, so many people."

On a tough start and the adjustment with the offensive line:

"I'm encouraged because these guys have heart, character. Last week we bring in Milford Brown and he goes in there after three days of install in practice, he plays his heart out. I'm sure he feels like he can do some things better, but that comes from preparation. I'm enthused. I'm excited that we're going to go up there and work. We have some young guys in there, but they're not backing down from anyone, and it's my job as a veteran leader to reiterate it, ‘Hey, we have to go, we have to go. You're all we got. So let's push this opportunity you've been waiting on and seize the moment.' So things like that, just to keep them going, keep them driving in the moment. So I'm excited. We're going to continue to push forward. Nobody's feeling sorry for us, so we can't waste energy feeling for ourselves."

On if there is something special about playing the Colts, and his success:

"I think it's more coincidental more than anything else. We've been in the same division for some years now, and I see them twice a year. I have opportunities to study them, they study us. Just go out there and put forth your best effort. I try and go hard every single week. Sometimes you have great success and other times it seems like you don't even play the game. They're a great team. You want to put forth your best versus great teams. Like I said, though, at the end of the day it's more coincidental."

On DB Bob Sanders being injured:

"It's the same preparation from our end. A guy like Bob, I had an opportunity to really kind of holler at him a little bit. We met down at the Super Bowl, and it was cool. We had some appearances and we ran into each other quite a few times. I saw him with a sling on, and he was trying to get his shoulder right. You bust your butt the entire offseason in rehab and try to come back from one major injury, and then something like this comes out of nowhere. And myself, more than anybody else, I had to deal with so many different injuries early in my career that kept me sidelined. From that perspective, I can understand what he's going through. Right now, he's probably a little frustrated that he's a leader, and the team didn't have that fast start like they've always had with that first slip-up against Chicago. So he wants to be out there, no doubt in my mind he wants to be out there. And I would love for him to be out there. He's a great player. If you're going to play against a team full of scrubs, that's not fair, so I'd rather have Bob out there. They're going to give us their best shot, regardless."

On the division:

"Tennessee's playing outstanding right now, and hats off to them for getting off to a fast start. They're doing the things they need to do. This division, I would say the Colts have dominated it. They've won the division the past (five) years or something like that. Our division, I think, is the best in football regardless of what people say about the NFC East. I don't think the NFC East can match up against AFC South teams when you put things on the line. Tennessee, they're doing what they have to do, and it's creating some balance. Houston had a very good year last year. I won't call it great unless you win the (Super) Bowl. Our division, I would argue and say it's the best in football. I don't care what anybody else says. I'll take it any day of the week."

On Jacksonville being 5-7 against Houston, showing the balance:

"They're a team that you have to bring your A-game for or they're going to slap you in the mouth. They get down and dirty. They're physical, they play well. They'll show some teams this year. Hopefully it's not us. They're going to play hard this year. All of us, we're going to be at the top, I really think so."

On being in his 11th year and if anything has changed:

"Perspective doesn't change. I think when I was a wide-eyed, younger player, it's a certain type of enthusiasm you have of not knowing. You really don't know. You just go out there and expect greatness and you expect good things to happen. I still expect those same things, but it's a different approach. I have more of a routine now, where back in the day I would just show up and, ‘Hey, what's on the agenda?' Now I have a routine. If I go off that routine I feel kind of naked, feel like I'm not where I'm supposed to be in my weekly game-preparations. Perspective is follow my routine, stick to it, because I feel like if I get off of it, I'm not going to have success. I think I'm just a little wiser of taking care of myself now. I have to."

On the ‘must win' and if this is a must-win Sunday vs. Indianapolis:

"It is the stupidest phrase ever invented. Why would you want to lose at anything? Must win? Everything's a must-win, at everything you do. It's the Colts. What else do they expect? We're 0-2, so what? We could be 2-0, and this is a must-win. They've been ahead of our division, the champs, and that's the team that we've been chasing, along with the other teams, don't get me wrong. I don't want to disrespect them. But you want to try to knock off the champion. It's a divisional game. It's an AFC game. If we're going to consider ourselves playoff worthy, anything like that, you have to start by winning in your division and then winning in your conference. And right now we're 0-2 in conference and 0-1 in division. Altogether it's just a big game, all around."


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