Taylor Thoughts

There has been much rejoicing in South Florida over the last 24 hours in the aftermath of Jason Taylor signing to rejoin the Dolphins. But now it's time to turn our attention to some details, starting with the question of what Taylor's return to the defense means and how we can expect him to be used.

On the first point, it should be pretty obvious that Taylor's return means the pass rush should be improved over last year. And that's taken into consideration the fact that it's entirely likely Joey Porter won't be able to match or come close to last season's output of 17.5 sacks.

If he stays healthy, Porter will get his share of sacks, make no mistake, but things have to go right for anybody to get that many.

Still, the Dolphins defense didn't generate enough in terms of a pass rush last season on those days when Porter was being kept in check, and that area needed to be improved.

Behind Porter last season, the next-best sack producer was Matt Roth, with a modest five. Jason Taylor should be able to get that without any problem.

And let's not forget about Cameron Wake, even though there clearly isn't as much pressure on him to deliver now that Taylor is back in the fold.

It's not like the Dolphins are going to dismiss Wake just because Taylor is on the team — provided Wake shows some of the pass-rushing magic he showed in the CFL can work south of the border.

Between Porter, Taylor and Wake, the Dolphins have enough pass-rushing ammo that we should expect the defense to improve. Remember, pass rushing isn't just about sacks, it's about forcing opposing quarterbacks to get rid of the ball quicker, which means defensive backs don't have to cover receivers as long.

After drafting Vontae Davis and Sean Smith in the first two rounds, a pass rusher to complement Porter was left as the one big need on defense. The hope was there all along that Cameron Wake could be that guy, but the signing of Taylor now provides great insurance.

Now, how will Taylor be used?

That's a great question at this point, and we wouldn't anticipate to get an answer on that from Tony Sparano anytime soon.

Taylor played weakside linebacker in the Dolphins' hybrid 3-4 in 2007, while Porter played the strong side.

After Taylor left, Porter switched over to the weak side last year and said on many occasions the biggest reason he had a big year after a disappointing 2007 was that he was playing at the perfect position for him.

One wouldn't expect Porter to move from his current position, which means Taylor either plays the strong side or becomes a situational player.

Bringing Taylor in only on obvious passing situations clearly makes sense. First, while he got better at it through the years, run defense isn't his forte. Second, and perhaps more important, giving him a part-time role could help the soon-to-be 35-year-old stay fresh longer and hold up better.

Besides, while starting Taylor and Porter together sounds great, it might not offer the type of run defense the Dolphins want because, let's face it, both players are pass-rushing specialists.

In the final analysis, it's an interesting dilemma for Sparano and defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, and having another option is never a bad thing.

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