In years past, when we've done the column naming the most-overrated and most-underrated players in the league, we focused on the negative; meaning the overrated guy got most of the attention.
Isn't that what you have come to expect here? You all insist we look long and hard for the negative, taking great satisfaction in tearing players down and ripping coaching moves to shreds.
|Fred Taylor has been leaving the 'Fragile Fred' nickname behind.(AP)|
Taylor ran for a career-high 1,572 yards last season, yet didn't get a Pro Bowl sniff. In fact, Taylor, who has 6,356 career rushing yards in six seasons, has never been to the Pro Bowl.
His career rushing average of 4.6 is better than that of San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson (4.5) and New Orleans' Deuce McAllister (4.5), and just a tenth behind Kansas City's Priest Holmes, Green Bay's Ahman Green and Baltimore Jamal Lewis, all at 4.7.
"In my mind, I'm one of the best backs, not ever -- not yet -- but in this day and age," Taylor said. "I can do as much, if not more, than any of those other guys."
Those are meaningful words from a guy who doesn't brag on himself much. It also means he's tired of being overlooked.
|Training Camp Tour|
|Aug. 17||Ron Dayne|
|Aug. 13||Eagles CBs|
|Aug. 2||Michael Vick|
Playing in small-market Jacksonville, for a team that hasn't had a winning season since 1999, has hurt Taylor. Defensive players and coaches know all too well that Taylor is one of those rare-breed backs, the big runner who can also rip it 70 yards.
As one opposing assistant coach said, "That guy is scary."
During his first four years, Taylor was known as "Fragile Fred" because he missed too many games. Taylor started just 36 of a potential career-first 64 games because of a variety of injuries.
That's changed, though, even if the perception of him hasn't. Taylor hasn't missed a game the past two seasons. His 32-game streak of consecutive games started is currently the fourth longest in the league.
"At the end of the day, I would like to have back those games I missed," Taylor said. "And maybe that would help the status of what type of back Fred Taylor is. But I can't get them back. All I can do is take advantage of what's ahead of me, continue to try to be the best."