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Taylor expected to play


The Jaguars' opponent this week, the New York Jets, has the NFL's worst run-defense. Fred Taylor wouldn't possibly pass up that opportunity to add to his rushing stats, would he?

"Right now, I'd be jumping the gun to say I'm a definite. I know that if I go I'll be full speed," Taylor told reporters following today's practice.

Taylor injured his right knee and took a hit on his left thigh in this past Sunday's loss to the Titans. The injuries caused Taylor to stiffen up as the game wore on, and he finished the game on the bench as the Jaguars' bid to send the game into overtime died on the Titans' two-yard line.

The Titans have the league's best run-defense, but Taylor appeared to be on his way to a hundred-yard game before the injuries canceled that thought. Monday, Taylor reported to Alltel Stadium extremely stiff and sore. He underwent an MRI that revealed no structural damage.

Today, Taylor "didn't do much" at practice, according to head coach Jack Del Rio. Taylor said his knee is "pretty tender, but I'm sure I can deal with that."

Del Rio painted a more optimistic picture of Taylor's condition.

"We expect him to play. I think he's determined to play. He's got some time to heal up and I expect him to play," Del Rio said.

Taylor has made 26 consecutive starts since missing the final 14 games of the 2001 season. His 800 yards rushing are sixth-best in the AFC and he'd like to think he could close in on the fourth thousand-yard season of his six-year career this Sunday in New York. The Jets are allowing 154.1 yards rushing per game.

"At this point in the season, everybody is going to be sore," said Taylor, who is listed as "probable" on the Jaguars' injury report. "I jogged a little bit today. I'll see if I can do more tomorrow."

Meanwhile, Del Rio reported that all of the other players on his roster participated in practice, including left guard Vince Manuwai, who missed the game in Tennessee with a foot injury. He is listed as "questionable," along with cornerback Jason Craft (knee) and quarterback Mark Brunell (elbow).

Newly-acquired wide receiver Kevin Johnson was said to have made a spectacular catch in today's practice. "It was a pretty good catch. He has good hands," Del Rio said.

"I think the morale is very good. I think the guys are preparing to have success," he added.

The rookie head coach was also asked about remarks Titans coach Jeff Fisher made on Monday. Fisher accused offensive tackle Mike Pearson and center Brad Meester of dirty tactics.

"That's old news. We'll talk about that next year," Del Rio said.

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