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Is this the Season of Sean?
Question of the Day
By adding rookie LaRon Landry to play strong safety, Taylor will be allowed to play his position the way he did in college, when he had 10 interceptions in 2003.
Taylor has only seven interceptions in 46 NFL games. Figuring out how to examine his complete body of work through three NFL seasons is difficult.
On the one hand, he has stayed healthy (two missed games), produced high tackle numbers (76, 70, 111) and delivered big hits (tight ends are aware he’s on the field).
On the other, he has one regular-season touchdown, more personal foul penalties (12) than interceptions and appears to be a fundamentally flawed tackler.
Taylor’s first three years compare favorably to the league’s other top safeties. He has 257 tackles. Chicago’s Mike Brown had 258 from 2000 to 2002 and Dallas’ Roy Williams had 265 from 2002 to 2004. Taylor’s combined 14 interceptions/forced fumbles are more than New England’s Eugene Wilson (11), Philadelphia’s Brian Dawkins (10) and Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu (10) had in their first three seasons.
The only safety Taylor doesn’t measure up to is Baltimore’s Ed Reed, who had 232 tackles and 21 interceptions in his first three seasons.
Some safeties, they’ve played together for a long time, Jackson said. We didn’t have that last year. We had it two years ago. When you’re out there and don’t know where the corner’s going to be, where the linebackers are going to be, whether the scheme has changed for this game because of injuries, that’s a lot different than going into the game knowing you’ve played with a guy for two years.
Those around Taylor acknowledge the lack of takeaways and say the new role will increase his interception opportunities. But they defend his tackling abilities.
He’s an excellent tackler, Williams said. The tackles that you talk about him missing is because he’s trying to blow somebody up. One of the things that comes with experience is being a smart tackler.
Around the team, all parties say Taylor has become more willing to speak up. Around the media is another story. The team’s media relations staff has tried to set up a group interview session for Taylor the last three days, but each attempt has been futile.
He’s starting to cross the bridge from athletic ability to knowing the game, Prioleau said. He’s having a phenomenal camp. The way we play him this year, hopefully we’ll see more production.
By Michael Widlanski
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