|Inconsistent running game puzzles Taylor, Jaguars|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 30 October 2008 10:53|
If he maintains this season's pace, he won't get there until November 2010.
Taylor is off to the slowest start in his 11-year career, one of Jacksonville's biggest problems in a season filled with them. He has 266 yards rushing, averaging 38 yards a game, and 3.3 yards a carry - both career lows for the 32-year-old back.
``I'm a little puzzled about what's going on,'' Taylor said. ``Slightly, only because of what we're used to. Teams are coming in and doing a pretty good job defending it. ... But we're not giving up on it. We've still got a lot of time to fix it.''
The Jaguars (3-4) might find a cure in Cincinnati on Sunday. The Bengals (0-8) rank 28th in the league against the run, and Taylor has four 100-yard performances in seven games against them.
istent ground game.
``We know our backs are really central to what we do and we need to get them going,'' coach Jack Del Rio said.
Taylor and his teammates refused to point fingers, but Del Rio made it clear this week that the rushing woes rest with the team's struggling offensive line.
Guards Vince Manuwai and Maurice Williams were placed on injured reserve following the season opener, and center Brad Meester missed the first six games with a biceps injury.
Their backups didn't open nearly the same kind of holes that helped the Jaguars rank second and third in the NFL, respectively, the last two seasons.
Meester returned last week against Cleveland, but his long layoff was evident as defensive tackle Shaun Rogers disrupted everything Jacksonville tried to do in a 23-17 loss.
Guard Chris Naeole could have helped. The team's longtime right guard who missed the last year because of a quadriceps injury, was expected to return alongside Meester. But Naeole broke his right hand in pregame warmups and was lost for the season.
Taylor, meanwhile, couldn't find running lanes - again. He finished with 24 yards on eight carries against the Browns.
r why didn't you make this cut?'
``I don't really want to get into that. Whether I feel a certain way or not, it's for me to deal with within and try to make them better.''
Taylor opened the season with a legitimate shot at surpassing 12,000 yards for his career. Now, he'd be content reaching the 11,000-yard mark. It looked like he would accomplish that last month, but he's managed just 78 yards the last four games and remains 19 yards shy of 11,000.
Taylor has been a slow starter his entire career, often getting hot when the temperature cools down. But yards have never been this tough to come by for the former Florida star and first-round draft pick in 1998.
``Last year, we didn't really start racking up big, big yardage in the run game until November,'' Taylor said. ``I was waiting to get 500 yards to go over 10,000, and that didn't happen until Nov. 11. Right now, I'm under 300, but it's still two weeks before Nov. 11. So if I can knock out 100 this week and 100 next week, I'll be right where I was last year with hopes of doing the same things.''
Taylor ran for 1,202 yards last season and 1,146 the previous year, and thanks to Maurice Jones-Drew keeping him fresh, set a career high each season for yards per carry.
It's unlikely he can top that again this season, definitely not on his current pace.
t to figure out a way to get it back going because whenever you're one-dimensional, it makes it tough on you. We'll figure it out and we will get it going. Hopefully we'll get it going this weekend.''