They are courageous words. He didn't have to say a thing. He probably won't even play on Sunday, which makes what he said even more honorable because he came to the defense of his teammates.
"We don't want the boo birds to come to any more of our games. I'd rather have a blackout than having boo birds," Fred Taylor said.
They are words that won't be lost on Jaguars fans; especially those fans who have a penchant for being dissatisfied with the team's offense. Taylor called them out. He's asking them point-blank: Are you with us or against us? And if the answer is "against us," he's asking you to stay home.
Some will say Taylor did not exercise proper judgment in popping off. Some will say he should be concerned only about his own performance, not the fans'. No one can say, however, that Taylor wasn't speaking from his heart, and no one can doubt where his heart is. He was making an appeal to the fans: Please support us.
This is a guy who, even after the Titans had won for the third time in the 1999 season, refused to back off his statement that the Jaguars were the better team. Taylor has never wavered in his affection or loyalty for Jacksonville and the Jaguars. Fifty years may pass before the Jaguars see another running back of Taylor's talents. He is one of this young franchise's icons.
So, where do you stand? Are you for them or against them? That's the true value of Taylor's challenge. It's time to declare your allegiance. Are you friend or foe?
Here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Ravens.
- Buckle your chinstrap—These aren't the Texans you're playing. Put on your big-boy pads and get ready to hit. This is real football.
- Dust off the game plan—The one the Jaguars used in Pittsburgh. That one will work just fine.
- Protect the quarterback—The Ravens knocked the ball loose from Byron Leftwich two years ago when he was a rookie. They remember and they'll try to do it again. He needs room to throw.
- Make big plays—The Ravens play pressure man-to-man defense with their corners, which dares offenses to make plays downfield. That's what this offense is all about, right?
- Run with power—That's what the Ravens respect. Greg Jones is a power back. Let's see it.
- Stop the run—Why do I have the feeling Jamal Lewis is going to pick this game to get his pads down and plow? He must be stopped.
- Dare Boller—Maybe the Ravens will pick this game to make a decision on their 2003 first-round pick. Good!
- Get a win on special teams—It's time for the Jaguars to do something dramatic (the good kind) in the kicking game.
- Give fans reason to cheer—It's better than the alternative.
- Play hard, play tough—I like this slogan.