4Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor addresses the New England media during his conference call on January 8, 2008.
Q: How is it that you never lose a beat? We see you from time to time, occasionally in the season and postseason. How is it that you have never lost a beat?
FT: I wouldn't say that. The think the thing you have do is, you get a little bit older, you get more mature, not in age but just in experience. You try to give yourself the best opportunity, the best advantage and that's taking care of your body. I think that over the past few years I have been doing that, just taking care of my body, realizing that it takes a little bit longer to heal so early in the week you do the necessary things to try to prevent those small injuries from becoming bigger. I know how to play football. I love playing football, I love competing, so that's the second part. That I think I'll never forget how to do. God has definitely blessed me in that area, but you have to do the other the things, just taking care of your body, because if your body goes then you can't compete.
Q: Does it help having Maurice Jones-Drew there to take a little bit of the pressure off of you?
FT: It helps a whole lot. A whole, whole lot. I like to tell people he has been a blessing in disguise. Now I can come out of the game when I am tired or semi-tired. I can kind of guess on what areas of the field to come out so I can be fresher on other parts of the field. That way I know coaches are going to call certain plays might suit me better than they suit him or vice versa. If I feel l like he does certain plays better than myself, I'll come out and I'll give him the nod. It's really all about having chemistry and believing in him, and I don't have any pressure on me knowing that he can come in at any given time and get it done.
Q: The two of you together really pose an interesting one-two punch in terms of how defenses have to stop the running game, don't they?
FT: We get excited when we have an opportunity to go against a team the wants to try to stop our run and, granted our coaches the last few years run the ball, stop the run, and we have bought into that the past couple of years, myself and Maurice. We always feel like every time we go out there is definitely a challenge and we just go out there and give it our all. Back down from no one and try to go out there and play the best we can to help the team win.
Q: You always have had a change in terms of quarter back and if they do stop the run I would assume David Garrard is a player who can change things as well.
FT: David definitely he's been a guy who has been patient the past six, seven years. He's definitely been patient and I think the major difference is he doesn't have that pressure of having to go out there and try to prove to anyone. What I mean by that is Byron [Leftwich] not here. In the past, he had to try and compete and he had the pressure of if he messed up maybe they would put Byron back in there or something. So right now he is a lot more relaxed. He doesn't feel that added pressure of all right, if I make the wrong throw I might be back on the bench. He understands that it's his team. We've ralloed around him in full support. We has the confidence that he can get the things done, he has been terrific for us.
Q: Has it ever been frustrating to be in a situation where you don't get the notoriety nationwide that maybe some other players of your stature would get and even the team itself. Is it frustrating to be on a team that is often overlooked? Obviously you play in a division with Indianapolis and people look at them as a team to beat every year in their division.
FT: As far as the individual stuff goes, I don't get frustrated. It actually works out to my advantage. I don't get hassled as much when I go shopping for some lettuce and some tomatoes in the grocery store. People don't recognize me as much, so I guess that's a good thing. I'm usually one of those guys who's low-key and under the radar. As far as the team, I really believe Indy, they've always been the team in our division to chase. We've been chasing those guys for quite some time now. They've owned our division. They get most of the notoriety and that's no problem. You don't get frustrated by it. They're the best and in competition if you want to be the best you have to go after the best, and that's what they have been in our division. It just always for me, myself, to try when we face them to compete that much harder, try and help my team take over the throne. It's all good with Indy -- Great competition. I love playing those guys.
Q: Do you see this Saturday night as a chance to really expose the nation to how good your team really can be?
FT: It's not really about the nation. We're not concerned about what they think of us. We know we have a great challenge ahead of us, a great opportunity. Like I just said, they are the best they have been the best this regular season. Now it's the postseason and I'm pretty sure they would like to finish strong and that is really what it is really about -- finishing strong at this point. Like I said, we just have an opportunity to go out there and compete verses those guys. It's not going to be easy by any means, but we're looking forward to the challenge.
Q: It is hard to believe you have played in two out of the three playoff games your team has had out of the four. It was 1999 you ran for 162 yards against the Patriots, which seems like yesterday to some people but not others.
FT: Well, those are memories and memories are for old people. When I get older I will be able to sit back and say I did this against the Patriots pre-dynasty era, so that was all good, but right now, like I said, I have an opportunity to go out there and try to put my team in position to win a ballgame, and that's what it's all about at this point. I'm going to definitely go out there and play my best.
Q: I love that pre-dynasty era talk. It is a dynasty.
FT: Oh yes they are. Yes they are. Great coach.
Q: If you win, if you beat them it'll always be remembered as the team that did. That opportunity is there, right?
FT: That's also an opportunity. You try not to get to far ahead of ourselves but that is something that I am pretty sure the media will make look [darn] good in the papers. That's not our biggest concern. We would like to advance.
Q: I'm assuming coming up here is not a concern, because it seems to me that people have called you a cold weather team that plays in warm weather. Is that pretty accurate?
FT: We like to say we're a team that competes. They kind of blow that out of proportion, in my opinion. The way Coach - Like I said, his philosophy is to try to run the ball and stop the run. They always say in the postseason you have to be able to do those things and it makes for good writing. I think it is just more coincident than anything, to answer your question. We're a football team. We are definitely a team.
Q: I understand the Jaguars finally have a guy in the Pro Bowl, an old guy by the name of Fred Taylor. Congratulations on that. What did you guys make of the fact that particularly as well as you played the second half not a single Jaguar was selected to the Pro Bowl?
FT: Well, as far as me individually, first of all, I understand I made a late season push, so I really didn't make a big, big deal out of it. I didn't really have any plans on the Pro Bowl, especially midway through the season. My numbers weren't there with the other guys, so I didn't make a big issue of it. But the end of the day, when you have guys like Rashean Mathis who poses a threat where teams don't throw to his side, he's been a Pro Bowler. John Hendersen -- Guys who have been there on a consistent basis week in-and week-out. Not guys that have been injured part of the season and then all of a sudden because of their popularity and their notoriety they get invited, I think that's where the Pro Bowl has really gone Hollywood in so many instances. We understand that we have a lot of unselfish guys here, guys that will do anything for the [good] of the team. We didn't try to use it as motivation or anything like that. We just said, hey, [forget] it. Let's just continue to work our craft and try to win some football games, and that's really what it boils down to - winning and losing.
Q: It's interesting that you say you don't use it as motivation -
FT: We don't. Not at all.
Q: Because you look at this team and this is a glamorous team. There is a reason you are playing Saturday night at 8:00.
FT: Well, we've have earned it. No one has given it to us - We've earned it. A lot of times the Pro Bowl - They can swing you up and give you things. Granted, a lot of guys definitely do deserve to go, but a lot of times because if you try to pad one guy's stats to help him get there or whatever, if you're using one particular player you're not really helping your team out and you're not looking at the main goal, the main objective and that is to get in the playoffs and hopefully get a chance to play on the ultimate stage, which is the Super Bowl. But those guys up there, they do it the way it's suppose to be done. They're a team and they have superstars, but they can co-exist with each other and that's all that matters. As long as you can win some games, it's all good.