Talk about a dramatic first day of training camp. Less than seven hours after losing starting defensive end Phillip Daniels for the season with a torn ACL during the first practice, the Washington Redskins filled that void - and then some - by acquiring six-time Pro Bowl end Jason Taylor from the Miami Dolphins.
“We had to act after losing Phillip,” said Redskins executive vice president Vinny Cerrato, adding that he hadn’t talked to the Dolphins less than two hours before engineering the trade in which he gave them a second-round pick in the 2009 draft and a sixth-rounder in 2010. “We’re fortunate that a guy of his caliber was on the market. The timing was right.”
Indeed, the Redskins were fortunate Taylor has been at odds with new Dolphins front office boss Bill Parcells since he skipped the team’s offseason workout regimen to participate on “Dancing With the Stars.” Cerrato said Taylor at least would fulfill his contract, which runs through next season. Taylor’s $8.1 million base salary consumed almost all of Washington’s cap room for 2008.
“He’s excited for a new start,” Cerrato said after talking to Taylor.
Taylor will be 34 on Sept. 1, but that’s 18 months younger than Daniels. And there’s no doubt Taylor still can dance past blockers. His 11 sacks last season raised his career total to 117, 14th all time and most among active players.
Taylor averaged 11 sacks during his 11 seasons in Miami. Only Marco Coleman (12 in 2002) and LaVar Arrington (11 in 2002) reached that total for Washington during Taylor’s career.
“His play speaks for itself,” Cerrato said. “One of the more impressive accomplishments is that he has played over 90 percent of his possible playing time.”
As for Daniels, he went down on the first play of 7-on-7 drills and lay on the ground, where he was examined by the Redskins’ medical staff for several minutes before being helped to his feet and then to a transport cart.
Andre Carter and Anthony Montgomery came over to encourage their linemate before he was driven up the hill to the training room. When Daniels returned in the afternoon after an MRI, he was on crutches and sporting a massive brace. He had to be helped into his SUV before being driven home with his career in jeopardy.
“Phillip feels miserable,” coach Jim Zorn said before the trade was completed. “He knows that it’s a big void, knows that he was a key leader. He was in tremendous shape and really had a great [offseason], all the things we needed to have him do.”
Taylor, who played mostly on the right side for Miami, will shift to the left in Washington with Carter remaining on the right. Demetric Evans will remain the No. 3 end until Erasmus James, acquired from Minnesota in June, returns from reconstructive knee surgery, probably next month. Chris Wilson showed promise with four sacks in limited duty in his NFL debut in 2007.
Alex Buzbee, who was promoted from the practice squad to the roster as an undrafted rookie from Georgetown in December, also was lost for the season Sunday when he ruptured his right Achilles tendon. Rookie free agent J.T. Mapu was re-signed to replace Buzbee, but seventh-round pick Rob Jackson has a better chance of claiming a job if James is unable to recover from knee operations from each of the past two seasons.