To recap Jonathan Taylor's accomplishments in 2021:
- He was a unanimous first-team AP All-Pro.
- He set franchise records in rushing yards (1,811), rushing touchdowns (18) and yards per carry (5.5).
- He tied a franchise record with 20 total touchdowns set in 1964 by Hall of Famer Lenny Moore.
- He led the NFL in rushing by the widest margin (552 yards) since 2009.
- He became the youngest player in NFL history with at least 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 20 total touchdowns in a season.
But Taylor isn't satisfied with those accomplishments – they came in a season in which his team didn't make the playoffs, after all.
So Taylor has spent the offseason not only training his body for another heavy workload – it's better to be prepared than not, he said – but also studying everything he didn't do well in 2021 so he can correct those things in 2022.
Because even though Taylor had a remarkable, record-setting season, he felt like he left plays on the field that could've been the difference between the Colts making the playoffs and not.
"The only thing you can do is, how can I prepare my training plan throughout this offseason to ensure that this play in this game, this play in that game I make so now I never have to worry about missing those plays again," Taylor said. "Maybe that changes the course of a few games and now we're in the playoffs."
Taylor said he's studied all of his negative and short-yardage runs from 2021 to see what he could've done differently on those – for example, if he gained two yards to pick up a first down, could he have been more patient and turned an efficient play into an explosive play?
"At the end of the day, everyone can have spectacular seasons and we still fall short of our ultimate goal," Taylor said. "So what can I do in order to make those one or two plays that I didn't make that were right there on my fingertips? Could those have changed the course of the season, who knows, you may not. But if you make those plays you know 100 percent for a fact that every time I was out there, I made every play I possibly can make in order to help us get that ultimate goal."
A few months ago, we had a chance to sit down with Colts general manager Chris Ballard for a podcast on the Colts Audio Network – and what Taylor said on Wednesday fits exactly with how Ballard described the star running back in January.
"I don't expect anything different from Jonathan just knowing how he works, how he prepares and his mindset — like, he wants to be great," Ballard said. "And he's driven to be great, and he's driven to do whatever it takes — he'll do whatever it takes to be great. And I'll tell you the other thing that he's driven to do is win. So if Jonathan rushes for 900 yards in a season and we win 14 games and go win a Super Bowl, Jonathan Taylor is going to be as excited as anybody.
"I don't think he'll feel any more pressure than he puts on himself to perform. This kid's a rare competitor. And he rises to the occasion of whatever it is what you need him to do, whatever the team needs to do for us to win, he will do it. So I don't think that you're going to have any kind of expectations that the outside pressure's going to put on him that he doesn't put on himself."
"Everybody's just excited, feels revitalized." – Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke on the vibe with the Colts' defense