Two years ago, Taylor averaged an even 5.0 yards per carry when he gained 1,146 yards on 231 rushes. He had eight fewer carries last season but 56 more yards to finish with a 5.4 per-carry average. More important, Taylor has missed just one game over the past two seasons due to an injury.
Taylor was back in town this week for three days, to take part in two days of workouts in order to get a refresher course on the team's playbook for the 2008 season. He'll make a return visit in 10 days for the mandatory three-day team minicamp, but then it's back to Davie, Fla., where he'll resume his individual offseason training.
"It's benefited me the last two years. My first eight years I would always work out here but I wasn't on a food program, no dieting," he said. "After we were done with workouts, I would just go and eat and do whatever I wanted to do.
Fred Taylor (Marco Garcia/AP)
"I just decided to stay down there. It's a change of atmosphere, which is always good. When I come back, I feel a sense of renewed energy. When I go down there to train, I feel the same way. It just works for me."
It also works for Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio. He's been a stickler about having the entire roster participate in the team's OTAs, albeit they are listed as voluntary. But like most coaches, Del Rio likes the continuity and camaraderie of having the team together for the extended training session. Yet he's seen the results and the way Taylor has reported to fall training camp the previous two seasons.
"The good news is that Fred is doing what he needs to do for our team, to be in shape and to be the guy that can carry the mail for us," Del Rio said. "So as long as he's taking care of business, it works out.
"When you get up in years like Freddy is, you understand the importance of taking care of your body so it can take care of you on Sunday. Freddy has clearly been doing that. We're glad to have him back (for a few days). He's become one of the leaders on our football team. So when he's here and we're together, we get a lift because our young guys see how it's supposed to be done."
|QUOTE TO NOTE: "There are certain battles ... there is no reason being contentious about battles I can't win. That's not one that's winnable." |
-- Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio commenting on accepting Fred Taylor working out on his own in south Florida compared to working with the rest of the team in Jacksonville during the offseason.