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Jags backs a study in contrasts; Wed. notes

On the surface, they couldn't be more different.

First, there's the prototypical running back, Fred Taylor: 6-1, 228 pounds, 31 years old.

Then you have the bowling ball of a man in Maurice Jones-Drew: 5-7, 208, 22 years of age.

Different as the two Jaguars running backs may appear, they're capable of doing the same things on the football field. Namely, ripping apart opposing defenses.

"I think they're both complete guys, they can do it all," Pats head coach Bill Belichick raved this week after looking over film of this weekend's playoff opponent.

"They can run, they can catch, they can block, they're both very good in blitz pick up, they use them both in the passing game, running game, third down, first down - it doesn't matter. No matter who's in the game, they're both playmakers."

Jones-Drew even serves as a kick returner for Jacksonville.

"I'm sure Fred could return kicks if they wanted to," Belichick added.

When it comes to their running styles, Taylor and Jones-Drew offer their own unique brands, which can make it difficult for a defender to adjust to them.

"Jones-Drew, a guy that last year we played against him," LB Tedy Bruschi recalled. "We put some good looks on him last year and he seemed like he was still breaking tackles and falling forward and he can't be underestimated because of his size. He doesn't have tremendous size, he's a little guy, but he's as tough as they come and you can see that by the way he runs and gets in the end zone."

"Jones-Drew had the long run against us last year, the kickoff return," Belichick continued. "He's had a couple of them, against the Colts, had one against the Saints, had it last week against Pittsburgh. He caught that wheel-route coming out of the backfield for a 50-yard touchdown. He didn't handle the ball that many times, but he had tremendous production in that game."

Taylor did not play in last year's regular season meeting between the Patriots and Jaguars. And although he's on the backside of his injury-riddled career, Taylor hasn't appeared to lose a step.

"When you look at Fred Taylor, I definitely rate him as one of the best backs that we've seen all year," DL Richard Seymour said. "When God was giving out talents, Fred went back for seconds.

"I think a lot of the credit [for his longevity] has to go to his training in the offseason. Obviously he's been hurt, but actually I saw him a couple of times during the offseason and he's been working with some real experienced guys, as far as rehabbing and getting him back on the field. He's been doing a good job of taking care of his body. He's the ultimate pro and we have a lot of respect for him."

"I think as long as Fred's been in league, you'd think you'd lose a step a little bit, especially as a running back with all of the pounding that you take," Bruschi noted.

"But as you watch him on film, he still has that great breakaway speed and you see him pulling away from linebackers and especially defensive backs and safeties. They just can't catch him, so I think he's playing the best type of football he has in his career."

It's now up to Bruschi, Seymour, and the rest of the New England defense to put a stop to that on Saturday.

Wednesday Practice Notebook

With wind and rain arriving in New England Wednesday, the Patriots took their practice indoors to the Dana-Farber Field House. The team practiced in upper pads only.

Two players were absent from the session: TE Stephen Spach and CB Antwain Spann.

RB Kyle Eckel, who had missed the past several practices, returned Wednesday.

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