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A look at Fred Taylor...

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A look at Fred Taylor...

Postby Warpigs » Thu Aug 12, 2004 9:07 am

Read this just a minute ago from Mr. Tuvey. Taylor could have a nice season...

Player Spotlight: Fred Taylor

by John Tuvey - Senior Editor, Fanball.com
Thursday, August 12, 2004
What's your favorite urban legend? Albino alligators are living in the New York City sewer system? The kid from the Life cereal commercials died when Pop Rocks exploded in his stomach? You can't get pregnant if you do it standing up?

Or how about this classic: Fred Taylor is injury prone?

Let's go ahead and debunk that myth right now.

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We'll start with the origins of the myth, because—as with most urban legends—it does have some basis in fact.

It's absolutely true that Taylor missed 10 games over his first three pro seasons, and that his fourth NFL campaign was cut short after just two games. If only he had busted a bone, blown out a knee, or ruptured an Achilles' tendon perhaps he wouldn't be saddled with the "Fragile Freddy" moniker.

Alas, it was Freddy's fate that he merely detached a tendon in his groin from his pelvic bone. And because over the course of the season it was believed he would return at first in three weeks, and then "maybe next week" over the next couple of months, he was tabbed as soft…unwilling to play through pain…a fraud.

Prior to last season, Taylor conceded that he could—and probably should—have played through some of the nagging injuries that kept him out his first three seasons. But he made no apologies for missing 14 games due to the groin injury, which he described as feeling as if someone had taken a sling blade and cut his body in half.

Try this test: run down to Home Depot and buy a circular saw. Plug it in, turn it on, and flip it upside down. Then jump on top of it, crotch-first. Then see if you feel like running around the football field.

What's that? Your return is doubtful? Thought so.

Since recovering from an injury that makes most men curl into the fetal position just by reading the description (detached tendon from bone in groin… gotcha again!), Taylor has played two full seasons. He's rushed for 2,886 yards (at 4.6 yards per carry) and added another 778 receiving; that's more than 114 yards from scrimmage per game. He's also scored 15 touchdowns during that span.

For the record, here's a list of current NFL running backs who have accounted for as many yards and as many touchdowns as Taylor over the past two seasons while playing all 16 games each year:

LaDainian Tomlinson. Jamal Lewis. And that's it.

The sad thing is, at this point we're preaching to the choir. There is still a significant portion of the fantasy football population which hears "Fred Taylor" and can't help but think "injury." They gave up on this article somewhere between the second and third paragraphs, and there's no getting them back.

These are probably the same folks who are still coming to grips with the possibility that the earth may not be flat.

For those of you who are still with us—and comfortable with our debunking of Taylor's mythical injury-prone status—it's time to address the other albatross hanging around his neck: the lack of touchdowns.

Again, there are elements of truth at the genesis of this far-too-simple labeling of Taylor as a yardage-only back. In 2002, Taylor scored eight rushing touchdowns but was often usurped at the goal line by Stacey Mack, who scored nine despite 189 fewer carries. You have to go back to Y2K to find Freddy's last double-digit touchdown season; he scored 14 in 13 games that season.

Last year, six different Jaguars scored rushing touchdowns inside the 10, including two quarterbacks (Mark Brunell and Byron Leftwich), two fullbacks (Marc Edwards and Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala), and Taylor's backup, LaBrandon Toefield.

However, Taylor's 27 rushing attempts inside the 10 were more than all but five other backs.

This year, the buzz since draft day has pegged 250-pound rookie Greg Jones as the Jaguars' goal-line back. Jones apologists point to the Mack/Taylor split of two seasons ago as evidence that the Jags will use a designated scorer.

The hole in that theory is, that division of carries came under the direction of former coach Tom Coughlin. Jack Del Rio is calling the shots in Jacksonville these days, and while he's as infatuated with Jones as a man can be without arousing suspicion, he's also indicated his desire to get Taylor 25 touches per game. Some of those will come at the stripe (witness the red zone carries last year), and Taylor has enough speed and elusiveness to render the point moot anyway; his average touchdown the last two seasons came from 19 yards out.

That said, we'll concede that Taylor's greatest value comes in yardage leagues. Note his strong finish to last season: triple-digit rushing yardage in six of his final eight games, falling short of the number only at Tennessee—where he torched the league's top-ranked run defense for 4.6 yards per carry but was limited to just 14 attempts—and at New England, where the cold, the snow, and the fourth-ranked Patriots' run defense held Taylor to 57 yards on 16 carries.

After a tough start against three top-10 run defenses from a year ago, the Jags face only two more such units the rest of the way. Behind one of the better young offensive lines in the game, Taylor will make a run at upping the franchise single-season rushing record he established last year.

With back-to-back healthy seasons under his belt, Taylor's accomplishments should drown out the inaccurate cacophony of the Fragile Fred protesters—at least for those willing to pull their fingers out of their ears long enough to listen.

Of course, you'll still want to grab Toefield as the handcuff…
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Postby T-DIDDY » Thu Aug 12, 2004 9:24 am

So where in the draft do you think he should go???
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Postby Warpigs » Thu Aug 12, 2004 9:27 am

Considering that there are so few teams using a primary running back, I definitely would take him in the late first round. It would be a tossup for me between Randy Moss and Taylor after Holmes, LT2, Green, Deuce, S.Alexander, Portis, Edge. (Yes, I would consider Taylor before Jamal Lewis -- Taylor is supposed to play a bigger role in the passing game this year)
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Postby CC » Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:47 am

Downright Durable!
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Postby KingNothing31685 » Thu Aug 12, 2004 11:04 am

"Try this test: run down to Home Depot and buy a circular saw. Plug it in, turn it on, and flip it upside down. Then jump on top of it, crotch-first. Then see if you feel like running around the football field."


warning to our impressionable members.....DON'T DO THIS
fantasy football is alot like sex. Everyone thinks they are the best, but most people really don't know what they are doing.
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Postby 34=Sweetness » Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:07 pm

I couldn't even imagine that injury happening. :~(
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Postby bagobonez » Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:16 pm

I think I'd jump head-first into that saw before I'd jump crotch-first into it.
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Postby MadScott » Thu Aug 12, 2004 5:07 pm

Especially with Ricky pulling a Ricky, I think a case could be made for Fred jumping into the top 10 RBs. With the news that WP posted about Jones not getting it in camp, perhaps his TD production will go up. Also, an improved Leftwich would bode well for him too.
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Postby Devastator » Thu Aug 12, 2004 5:26 pm

Warpigs wrote:Considering that there are so few teams using a primary running back, I definitely would take him in the late first round. It would be a tossup for me between Randy Moss and Taylor after Holmes, LT2, Green, Deuce, S.Alexander, Portis, Edge. (Yes, I would consider Taylor before Jamal Lewis -- Taylor is supposed to play a bigger role in the passing game this year)


I agree. I'd take Taylor before Jamal Lewis because he's a much better receiver, and he doesn't have the legal issues hanging over him.

Jack Del Rio claims he's making Taylor an even bigger part of the offense. That could make him a great value pick at the 9-12 range.
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Postby indecisiv » Thu Aug 12, 2004 5:57 pm

with Jamal Lewis' trial now set for the exact middle of the season, I think I would take Freddie over Jamal. However, I would expect that Moss would come between the two anyway, but somehow if they didnt (person has a choice between all three and takes Moss) I would seriously consider it.
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