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Taylor, Steelers defense in rematch


The proud Pittsburgh Steelers defense is still embarrassed, and you would think that will make Fred Taylor a marked man this Sunday. It will, but that's nothing new for Taylor.

"You gotta feel that way with every team. I talked to Earl Holmes yesterday and he said that's what they were stressing, not to let that happen again," Taylor said of his 234 yards rushing in Pittsburgh last November.

Taylor's awesome rushing performance in Three Rivers Stadium established an all-time record for a Steelers opponent. Holmes, the Steelers' star inside linebacker, will have his eyes sharply focused on Taylor this Sunday when the two teams meet at Alltel Stadium in the regular-season opener.

Taylor vs. Holmes and the Steelers run-defense will be one of the featured bouts of the day. Last October, in week five, the Steelers held Taylor to 24 yards rushing in a 24-13 upset win over the Jaguars.

"When we played here early in the season, we weren't very good. The thing I remember is blocking a punt at point-blank range and not scoring a touchdown," coach Tom Coughlin said.

Coughlin came off the field from practice today to the news that Sunday's NFL games will be officiated by replacements for regular officials who rejected the league's final contract offer today.

"I'm disappointed. It's the start of the season. It's unfortunate it turned out that way," Coughlin said of the impasse in negotiations between the league and its regular contingent of officials.

The Jaguars' practice today was interrupted by lightning, chasing the players off the field for about a half hour. They returned to the field and finished practice.

"It came at a most inopportune time," Coughlin said of the lightning, "but we handled the ball in the rain, and we threw the ball in the rain."

Weather, of course, is an issue for this Sunday's game, but not because of a threat of rain. The Steelers, who will wear their black jerseys Sunday, will be greeted by temperatures predicted to be in the low-90's.

"It was nice of Tom Coughlin to tell us to wear the black jerseys, too. I wanted to thank him for that," Steelers coach Bill Cowher told reporters earlier in the week.

"We practice in it. Hopefully, we'll be able to benefit from playing at home," Coughlin said.

Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.

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