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Fred Taylor clears the air

12/24/2009

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One story that hasn't been played too big here is Fred Taylor's remarks that riled up Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio.

Here is a quick recap:

Taylor was interviewed by Michael C. Wright of the Florida Times-Union for a piece that ran Tuesday. When reading the in-depth interview, it reflected my brief experience with Taylor this season as I thought it came across as thoughtful. Taylor always looks his questioner in the eye, seems to think about the question, and then patiently answers them articulately.

After the piece came out, Del Rio was asked in a press conference about this comment from Taylor, in which he talked about the differences between the Patriots and Jaguars:

"I guess the biggest difference is here there is a whole lot of veteran leadership across the board. There's more film study across the board, and not in just one position - every position. I thought we watched a fairly decent amount of film [in Jacksonville]. But I guess I didn't. Here, you're getting quizzed every single day. You have to make sure you know your [stuff] - everybody - nobody's exempt. That's one of the differences. Belichick, he's a realist. He's not gonna sugarcoat anything and he coaches from every angle. He'll even tell you what you can expect as far as questions from your own family, other players around the league and friends. He's just a realist like coach [Tom] Coughlin."

Del Rio then fired back.

As quoted by Wright of the Florida Times-Union, Del Rio said: "Fred’s always been a great interview. He really has [been]. I saw that and thought that was really, really great. He pointed out that the leadership there shows the way. I think he’s referring to veteran players. So that’s what we’re looking to instill in our veteran players. Evidently, he wasn’t that veteran leader here having our guys watch the tape. So we’re gonna work on getting the veteran leaders that are NOW here to have our guys watching more tape. He provided the blueprint.”

Taylor attempted to clear the air in a conference call with Jaguars reporters Wednesday, and also spoke with Patriots reporters today in the locker room.

He said today that he plans to shake Del Rio's hand, and explain to him the context and tone in which he was talking. More than anything, the message he seemed to want to send was that he was expressing regret at himself for not putting in more film study in Jacksonville, not taking a shot at Del Rio.