Q&A With: Randy Shannon

Nobody knows Sean Taylor better than his defensive coordinator from the Univeristy of Miami.

Q: What can you do with a safety like Sean?
A: We used Sean as a deep field player to go from half to half. Sometimes we blitzed him up the middle to make plays. He can do about anything. He even has corner skills because he's such a great athlete. He played running back and receiver in high school.

Q: What sets him apart?
A: He's a competitor. Everything he does he competes, even when we would run sprints. When he plays basketball he competes. When it's checkers or dominos. . . everything he does he competes all the time. He wants to win everything. You don't get too many guys who have that type of attitude.

Q: What gets overlooked when people talk about Sean?
A: That he has great ball skills. He knows where the ball is going and sometimes what quarterbacks are trying to attack on their checkoffs, what a quarterback might do.

Q: The Redskins say he had football smarts, do you agree?
A: He's very football smart. Sometimes guys look at the Wonderlic tests and they don't get caught up in looking at football players. Everytone thinks a test is the thing to do, but you have to get a guy who knows football. Football is not a test, it's read and react. There's not a lot of paperwork involved in it. That's the one thing people do bad in the NFL, instead of just judging if they're an NFL player. Sean sees things in formations, visual stuff, and that's how he makes his plays.

Q: Sean seems pretty low key. Is that how he was for you?
A: He's not caught up in all the hoopla. The only thing he worries about are the guys on his team. He missed the Playboy pictures and that All-American stuff. He doesn't get caught up in that. He just likes being around his guys. That's all he's worried about.

Q: Where did you see him grow the most?
A: Toward the end of his sophomore season, the year we lost to Ohio State. He was learning where the ball was better and getting more mature and being more of a leader. Sean has a mean streak, a good mean streak. He doesn't take anyone doing anything wrong to the guys on his team. I'll give you two instances. There was a play in practice. We're going against the offense in a tagoff drill. There's no hard contact. Kellen Winslow hits one of the DBs and ran him over. The next play someone on the offense is gonna get hit hard. Everyone knew it because that's how Sean is. Or the game against Virginia Tech. One of their guys cheap shots one of our defensive linemen. He hit him in the back of the legs from behind. The next play Sean went after him, after he carried out his assignment. The next play he went after him again. When he had a chance to get the guy he went after him. Sean is about fair is fair and wrong is wrong.

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