Fred Taylor will reach the 1,000-yard mark with 29 yards rushing against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night, and it will have only taken him 12 games to do it.
"Too bad the readers can't see the smile on my face," Taylor joked on Tuesday when he was asked about his track record against the Colts.
In 11 games against the Jaguars' division rival, Taylor has rushed for 971 yards, his most rushing yards against any team in the league. Taylor has rushed for five touchdowns, a 5.0 yards-per-carry average and has caught 20 passes for 175 yards.
Taylor broke loose for a 76-yard gain on the Jaguars' first offensive play of a 44-17 win over the Colts last December, and it was that play that began a rushing avalanche that produced 375 yards and the most embarrassing moment of the season for the Colts.
Those were the best of times for the Jaguars. A week later, they began a three-game tailspin that left them out of the playoffs.
"What we want to do is taste what Indy has tasted," Taylor said, referring to the Super Bowl title the Colts went on to win. "This is the test. This is going to define this team and show our character."
Taylor, the Jaguars and the city they represent will attempt to use Monday Night Football to showcase everything that is good about professional football in Jacksonville. Taylor needs 190 yards to reach 10,000 yards rushing in his career, the Jaguars need a win to take control of the AFC South and Jacksonville desperately needs the respect that would come with that win and the sight of a packed stadium.
"Anything is possible," Taylor said when asked if 190 is do-able.
Hey, they rushed for 375 last year. Would anybody have thought that was do-able?
Taylor gained 131 yards of those yards on just nine carries, a 14.6 yards-per-carry average. Then he retired to the bench. Old legs need their rest, right?
"I feel like Joe Torre right now," Taylor said of a line of questioning that suggested his best days might be behind him and the day was nearing when Maurice Jones-Drew would become the Jaguars', well, you know, feature back.
"I'm not threatened by that," Taylor said. "When I came into the league, I was welcomed with open arms. Stew (James Stewart) took me under his wing. I've never been a selfish guy. I'm going to play until I get tired of playing. I'm not going to let somebody push me out. If it happens, it happens. I'm not going to let it bother me."
This one is for old times. Taylor has four 100-yard games against the Colts. Remember the one in 2003, when Taylor called out safety Mike Doss in the days leading up to the game, then mowed Doss down in a 32-yard game-winning touchdown run?
"That was a young Freddy. I'm not picking any fights. I'm just going to play football the best I can," he said.
Though Taylor's not admitting to the inevitable effects of age, he knows he's closer to the end than he is to the beginning and these kinds of big games are to be treasured. On national television, he figures to go over the 1,000-yard mark against the Colts, and dreams of stepping into the club of 10,000-yard rushers, the most esteemed collection of running backs in football history.
Yeah, anything is possible.