Earlier on Thursday here on Colts.com, we looked at some of the big reasons why Jonathan Taylor is being considered alongside guys like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady for NFL MVP.
But there's an undercurrent to how Taylor has put up those record-shattering, eye-popping, remarkable numbers.
He's stayed healthy.
It's no coincidence Taylor, who leads the NFL with 317 rushing attempts and is second with 354 touches, has been available whenever the Colts have needed him in 2021. Taylor has talked all season about his dedication to what he calls "pre-hab" – receiving treatment in the training room even if he's not injured in an effort to stay off the injury report.
"A lot of times, especially in college, you kind of associate the training room as a negative," Taylor said in October. "As in, you don't want to be in the training room. Being here, talking to a lot of other vets, most of the time those guys that are in the training room, they're there doing prehab – doing things to prevent further injuries or trying to strengthen a certain area or weakness that you have whether that be a ligament or joint or something like that. That's something that I definitely learned from last year going into this year, is that the training room doesn't necessarily mean you're in a bad spot."
Taylor has averaged 24.5 carries per game since Week 9; prior to that, he averaged 15.1 carries per game from Weeks 1-8. As the Colts have leaned on Taylor more and more, he's answered the challenge every single game – like in Week 15 against the New England Patriots, when he took his 29th carry of the game to the house for a 67-yard touchdown.
Taylor's 317 rushing attempts are the most by a Colts player since Edgerrin James in 2005. He needs 18 more rushing attempts to have the fifth-most in a single season in team history; Taylor, too, is on pace to break his own franchise record for highest yards per carry average (Taylor set a record with 5.0 in 2020 and enters Week 18 averaging 5.5 yards per carry).
But when asked on Thursday how he feels going into the final game of the longest regular season in NFL history, Taylor said he feels "great."
And that doesn't come as a surprise to anyone who's been paying attention to what Taylor's been doing behind the scenes over the last few months.
"I feel like that's a testament to the coaches and the strength and conditioning staff working together and keeping that open line of communication – on being able to hear guys out, how they're feeling week-to-week," Taylor said, "but still being able to create a schedule that allows us to maximize the amount of work that we need to get in to make sure we are ready to go each week."
Thursday's practice report