TACKLING TAYLOR TEST

Despite Jacksonville's 1-4 record, there are plenty of reasons for the Dolphins to be wary of the Jaguars this weekend. At the top of the list is running back Fred Taylor.

The Dolphins have faced Jacksonville only twice since the Jaguars entered the league in 1996, once in the regular season and once in the playoffs.

In both games, Taylor burned the Dolphins with a long run. He had a 77-yard touchdown run in Jacksonville's 28-21 victory in a Monday night game at ALLTEL Stadium. And, of course, everyone remembers his 90-yard touchdown run in the 62-7 playoff embarrassment following the 1999 season.

"I tell you what, we've seen him before, and he's done a lot of damage to us," said linebacker Zach Thomas. "We definitely have to be there. We have to tackle, first of all. He's a guy that will cut back. He'll hit it everywhere."

With the Jaguars starting rookie Byron Leftwich, it figures he will need some help from Taylor to have success against the Dolphins. Sure, Leftwich threw for 336 yards last week against San Diego, but the Chargers' starting cornerbacks are very young and not nearly as good as Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison.

That means priority No. 1 for the Dolphins defense is containing Taylor and putting the pressure on Leftwich's shoulders.

Of course, that's easier said than done.

"Fred's got a lot of talent," said defensive end Jason Taylor. "Since he's come into the league, he's been a running back who could run the ball, could break tackles. He's as fast as any back out there. He's the fastest we have played this year. He might be the fastest we play all season. He can burn.

"Injuries have kept him from being the top back in the league or one of the top backs in the league. When he is healthy, he is that. The thing for him is to stay healthy and for us is to try to tackle him and keep him from having a field day on us."


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