Retired running back Fred Taylor spent 11 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team who drafted him in the first round in the 1998 NFL Draft. Taylor played the vast majority of his career under two head coaches, Tom Coughlin and Jack Del Rio. Recently, the Jaguars fired head coach Jack Del Rio, who coached Taylor in Jacksonville from 2003 to 2008. Recently, Fred Taylor was interviewed by Yahoo! Sports and had some very interesting things to say about Del Rio.
"With Jack, you never knew what you were getting. You don't know if you'll get a hard-ass one day, a buddy-buddy one day. You never really knew," Taylor told Eric Adelson of Yahoo!.
Jack Del Rio came into Jacksonville as a "players coach," being that he himself was a former NFL player. Taylor however, who also played under taskmaster Tom Coughlin, said the "players coach" routine wore thin pretty quickly. "He was able to take care of the players somewhat," Taylor told Yahoo!. "After that, after the next five years, it was a lot of gray area, which later in my career I didn't buy into."
Fred Taylor is known in Jacksonville as a very honest interview and he spoke rather frankly, sometimes brutally honest. In the interview, Taylor asked if he felt like Jack Del Rio played favorites and his answer was pretty damning.
"Why do you think I'm not there? There wasn't any falloff in my production. I expressed my willingness to take a paycut. I just wanted to be there and be a part of the community. I wanted to finish my career there. Just because we had this new running back. All we had to do was switch roles. 'Fred, Maurice [Jones-Drew] is going to be the starter.' Fine, no problem. I wasn't a virus in the locker room. I worked my ass off -- everything."
Taylor was ultimately released prior to the 2009 season and signed with the New England Patriots. "If you were the vet or the first-year guy, he [Belichick] yelled at you the same, chewed you out the same. Same thing with Coach Coughlin."
"At the end of the day, [Del Rio]'s not a head coach," Taylor told Yahoo!. "He's a great defensive coach. But he's not a head coach."