Fred Taylor began his career with a coach who was all business. And he may be ending it with one just like that.
The veteran running back, playing in his 13th season and second with the Patriots, was asked today about what the “Patriot Way” means to him and the one word he used to describe it was “business.” When he came into the league with the Jaguars in 1998, he had a coach just like that too. Fella by the name of Tom Coughlin.
Coughlin coached the Jaguars from 1995-2002. And if you think he has a reputation as a stern, demanding, no-nonsense coach with the Giants, well, you should have seen him back then.
“It’s all black and white, no gray areas,” Taylor said of playing under Coughlin. “What you see is what you get.”
Of course Coughlin has softened a little bit. Taylor has noticed that.
“From the standpoint of some of the stuff that was ticky-tacky, some of the small things,” he said of Coughlin not stressing over every minute detail of his players’ lives. “He’s probably said ‘OK, these are grown men, you guys be responsible. Captains, you house these guys.’”
Unlike Coughlin, Bill Belichick hasn’t softened. Linebacker Tully Banta-Cain was with the Patriots from 2003-06, played two years with the 49ers, then came back to New England in 2009. He said Belichick has not changed at all in all of those years.
Still, Taylor said he’s enjoying playing for Belichick.
“For me, basically, it’s been a good experience,” he said.
And what is the Patriots Way?
“It’s all business and that’s the approach,” he said. “I guess you would describe it by saying that it’s all business, knowing that this is a job. There is a fine line between this being a job and a game, but it’s more of a job first. It is a game, but it’s your livelihood, your life. That’s the approach and that’s what they want to instill in you.”
Taylor’s gotten that message before.