2003 REPORT CARD: JASON TAYLOR

With the Dolphins having started working on changes in preparation for the 2004 season, we take a look back at their just-completed season and examine every player's performance. Today we look at defensive end Jason Taylor.

Coming into the 2003 season:

Taylor was coming off a 2002 season that was nothing short of spectacular, as he finished second to Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks in balloting for NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. It figured to be difficult for Taylor to match his team-record-tying 18.5 sacks, but the Dolphins obviously expected big things again from Taylor.

His performance in 2003:

Sacks were tough to come by for Taylor in the early part of the season, but he came on late in that department and finished with a more than respectable 13 sacks. The bottom line, though, is that Taylor was solid from top to finish and was the one guy opposing offenses concentrated on neutralizing. In addition to his sacks, Taylor also had two fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. Adewale Ogunleye benefited from having Taylor on the opposite side and might have stolen his spot in the Pro Bowl. However you look at it, it was Taylor who was the Dolphins' best defensive lineman in 2003 and it was a joke he didn't get selected to the Pro Bowl.

His future with the team:

Taylor very simply remains one of the cornerstone of this franchise, and he's not going anywhere any time soon. The only question is whether he'll have a new defensive end bookend in 2004. Taylor will be there, and probably will be wreaking havoc on quarterbacks again.

Grade for 2003: A.


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