The Washington Times - July 23, 2008, 08:21AM

Pure hogwash: Jason Taylor-made for Redskins defense



Scott Hurrey


Let’s not start with a cheesy, over-used ‘Dancing With The Stars’ reference. Sure, we all watched the show. That’s not what this writer thinks about when Jason Taylor’s name is mentioned. The number 117 pops up first: the number of career sacks Taylor brings with him - tops amongst active players, by the way. Or how about the fact that he can rush the passer from either defensive end position or as a linebacker from anywhere Greg Blache can dream up.  Yes, this was an excellent move by Vinny and Company.


Of course, you can’t please everyone. You have the ‘I hate Snyder’ troop that see this as the next line of big names brought in by a meddling owner who thinks the Washington Redskins are his fantasy team. You have the ‘He’s too old’ faction and, of course, the ‘We overpaid’ camp. Or how about the argument that ‘his work ethic is questionable.’ The Redskins have made moves that fit many, if not all of these cases, but this is not one of them.


First, there is a big difference between Jason Taylor and Bruce Smith, the poster child for the meddling Snyder. Smith came here to prolong his career long enough to break the all-time sack record. By all accounts, Taylor wants a chance to win a championship. He is younger than Smith was and still near the top of his game. Plus, playing across the line from Andre Carter will help both of them play better.


The ‘too old’ argument also holds no water. He’s two years younger than the guy he’s being brought into replace in Phillip Daniels. Now, Taylor won’t likely be returning after two remaining years on his contract are up, but those two years will be ever more productive than the three years we got out of the aforementioned Smith. 


As for overpaying, its obviously too early to determine what value the 2nd in 2009 and the 6th in 2010 will yield. It could be Jon Jansen (2nd-1999) and Frank Wycheck (6th -1993), but it could also be Taylor Jacobs (2nd-2003) and Pat Palmer (6th-1998). You just never know whom the Redskins would have picked in those positions. Chances are, however, that neither would have been of the caliber of Jason Taylor.


Lastly, and perhaps laughably, arguments have been made that Jason Taylor’s work ethic was in question. This seems to have stemmed from his missing OTAs to compete on dancing with the stars. What a joke! This is the NFL. You can dominate in college on talent alone. You cannot put up the numbers Taylor has without a good strong work ethic. Heck, you’d be lucky to stay on a roster for more than a year or two without working hard.


Is this move a slam-dunk, sure-fire trip to the Super Bowl? No. There are too many variables to the equation. It still remains to be seen how he will be used, let alone how effective the defense will be. Not to mention the possibilities of injuries. That being said, the defensive line, in this humble writer’s opinion, has gone from the weakest defensive unit to the strongest overnight.


News and Notes


The Redskins continue to add pieces to their “media empire” by adding an official blogger and acquiring Sportstalk 980. The blogger, Matt Terl, has already begun flooding his site with information from training camp. Terl is an excellent writer and will hopefully do what the team’s other multimedia projects have failed to do: give a “from the fan-for the fan” source of information.


As for Sportstalk 980, a major independent source of local sports coverage is gone. Sure, a lot of the same guys are there, but now they all get paid by the team they cover. Hopefully, the coverage will remain un-biased, but I’ll believe it when I see it. If Snyder can just buy the Times and the Post, the Redskins will have 100% control of the local media. Wouldn’t that be spectacular?


Training camp is now in day 3. After a hectic first day (Phillip Daniels and Alex Buzbee gone for the year, Jason Taylor in) things have been fairly uneventful. Training camp, while fun to see in person, just doesn’t show you much unless you get to go to those closed practices, that being said…


Twelve days until football!! Sure it’s a pre-season game in which Peyton Manning won’t even be playing, but its still football. It marks the start of that time of year we all look forward to the rest of the year. r.