Jags putting number aside to chase Colts Print
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Thursday, 18 September 2008 10:59
NFL Headline News

 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -Fred Taylor has been around the NFL long enough to dispel conventional notions.
Yes, the Jaguars rank near the bottom of the league in yards rushing, have only two offensive touchdowns and, not surprisingly given those stats, are 0-2.
He couldn't care less. The 11-year-veteran won't even use old cliches to motivate his younger teammates as they embark on a new mission Sunday.
``Must win, it's the stupidest phrase ever invented,'' Taylor said. ``Why would you want to lose at anything?''
Besides, this is Indianapolis, the team Jacksonville has been chasing for half a decade in the AFC South.
The Colts have won five straight division titles, with Jacksonville finishing second three times in that span. The Jags never envisioned this year's quest to dethrone Indy would include so many early obstacles.
ago, they were getting that much in a half.
-They've already lost both starting guards, Vince Manuwai and Maurice Williams, for the season because of injuries, and the offensive line was so depleted, Jacksonville re-signed veteran Chris Naeole this week.
-That staunch run defense? It's struggling, too. Opponents are rushing for 106 yards per game.
Just numbers to Taylor.
Now comes the high-stakes poker game. Win and the Jags are back in the division chase and tied with the Colts (1-1). Lose and they're two back in the loss column and down a chip in the head-to-head matchup that could break a tie at season's end.
Taylor isn't worried.
``I'm enthused,'' he said. ``I'm excited we're going up there. We have young guys in there, but they're not backing down from anyone. It's my job as a veteran leader to reiterate it, 'Hey, we have to go, we have to go, you're all we've got.' ``
Actually, this may be the right time to catch a Colts team that hasn't been itself, either.
Two-time league MVP Peyton Manning reverted to his old form in the final 19 minutes of last week's game at Minnesota, though he struggled through most of the first seven quarters this season.
Running backs Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes, who led Indy to a Super Bowl title, have been even less effective than Jacksonville's running backs. Their combined total: 71 yards and one TD.
nners playing Sunday, none is averaging more than 2.9 yards per carry.
Indy's run defense has again become suspect, and Indy is also contending with injuries. While Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday and tight end Dallas Clark could return this week, the Colts are still likely to be without left tackle Tony Ugoh and safety Bob Sanders, the 2007 defensive player of the year.
They've survived this way before.
``One guy goes down, another guy has to step up, just like last season with me,'' three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney said. ``It's going to be 11 guys swarming to the ball, whoever takes Bob's place. We've got to go make plays.''
There's also a danger for Indianapolis.
Two years ago, in Jacksonville, Taylor and Jones-Drew spearheaded a franchise-record 375-yard performance against the eventual Super Bowl champs.
The Colts haven't forgotten, and they're certainly not going to look at Jacksonville's surprising stats and make the same mistake twice.
``We've got a great chance to put some distance between us and Jacksonville, who always seems to be on our heels,'' middle linebacker Gary Brackett said. ``If we can put them, essentially, three games back, that would be big.''
To Jacksonville, a victory would be equally important. It would boost morale and confidence.
South title, not even the chance to beat those dreaded Colts in Indianapolis where they haven't won since 1994. He understands that the Jags must first get things righted.
And then the wins will follow.
``I'm excited,'' Taylor said. ``We're going to continue pushing forward. Nobody's feeling sorry for us, so we can't waste energy feeling sorry for ourselves. We're 0-2. So what? We could be 2-0 and this is a must win.''
 

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