Fred Taylor: Hitting the Holes

Jaguars veteran running back Fred Taylor is finding that the road to 10,000 yards has a lot of potholes.

At the start of the year, Taylor thought he'd reach the pinnacle Sunday in the team's fifth game against the Texans.

Taylor, 31, started the season with 9,513 rushing yards and needed just 487 to become the 21st player in league history to reach the 10,000-yard mark.

Taylor needed to average close to 100 yards in his first four games to have a good chance to achieve the milestone against the Texans.

As it turns out, Taylor got only 207 yards in the first four games and would need 280 yards Sunday to reach 10,000.

Since Taylor's best day was 234 yards against the Steelers in 2000 and the league record is 295 yards by Jamal Lewis in 2003, the odds are against Taylor doing it Sunday.

He might not even be the 21st runner to reach the mark because Warrick Dunn of Atlanta is only 10 yards behind him and has a shot at getting there first.

Taylor, though, is concerned about one number -- 3-1.

That's the Jaguars' record and he's all about the team. He's not going to complain he's not getting enough touches or about the style of the offense or the lack of holes for him to break the big ones. Taylor isn't the type to display any frustration. The most he'll concede is that he might vent at home, but never around the Jaguars.

"I'm fine with how things are going," he said. "I like the offense. I like the direction we're headed."

Taylor said he didn't have any clue how many yards short of the 10,000-yard mark he is, but he always hopes for a big game.

"I'm always looking for that perfect scenario," he said. "You never know what will happen. My job is to keep on playing, help the team win. I'm not going to allow selfishness to creep in. I'm not that type of person."

Coach Jack Del Rio said he's not surprised Taylor isn't displaying any frustration with his role.

"That would shock me to hear him take that approach. He's been a very strong leader for us. He understands what we're looking for," he said.

There appears to be two major reasons Taylor isn't putting up bigger numbers.

The first is that he's continuing to share time with Maurice Jones-Drew the way he did in the second half of last year. Last year, Jones-Drew only had 18 carries in the first four games and Taylor had 71. Taylor wound up with 231 carries for the year even though he only had nine in the final three games when he had a hamstring problem while Drew finished with 166.

This year, Taylor has 55 carries and Drew 42 for the first four games.

The second thing is that -- except for Jones-Drew's 52-yard touchdown run against the Chiefs -- neither running back is breaking many big runs.

Taylor's longest was 29 yards and Jones-Drew's longest before the big run against the Chiefs was 23 yards. Except for Jones-Drew's 52-yarder, he has 132 yards in 41 carries for a 3.3-yard average while Taylor has 207 in his 55 carries for a 3.8 average. Counting his big run, Jones-Drew has a 4.3-yard average.

The Jaguars are moving the chains and controlling the ball with small chunks in the run game. They're ninth in the league in rushing. But moving the chains doesn't get a player on SportsCenter or in the Pro Bowl. The big runs that make the highlight shows usually define running backs.

Jags Illustrated Top Stories