It's Taylor Time

The day started poorly. Seventy-five minutes into Jim Zorn's first practice, his first disaster struck. Phillip Daniels was carted from the field with what turned out to be a torn ACL.

Nine hours later, Zorn's first day took a dramatic turn as the Redskins traded for defensive end Jason Taylor.

They went from having, at best, an adequate pass rush before camp opened to having a potentially outstanding one after the acquisition of Taylor for a second-round pick in April and a sixth-rounder in 2010. "His play speaks for itself," Redskins executive vice president Vinny Cerrato said.

Yes, it does. Taylor is a six-time Pro Bowl player who was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year two years ago. He's posted double-digit sack totals in six years and, at 33, remains a top end.

Taylor will play on the left side, after having spent most of his career on the right side. But he was used on both sides of the ball and also as a stand-up end.

The thing is, what does he have left? And how much motivation does he have to play? Taylor appeared on Dancing With the Stars this spring and stayed away from the Dolphins' facility. He wanted to get traded and made it desirable for Miami to do so.

In last year's opener, Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels, who missed the preseason with a knee injury, had no problems with Taylor.

But he is someone who can play the run, though not as good as Phillips. Still, with Andre Carter on the right side, the Redskins have arguably their best pass-rushing duo since Dexter Manley and Charles Mann in the 1980s.

Having said that, the loss of Daniels hung over the team. He's a respected leader, a voice in the locker room. For the media, he was a go-to player who was available win or lose and during the week. He never ducked a tough question. And now you have to wonder if he'll even play again in Washington. He's signed through 2011, but he'll be 36 next season and coming off a major knee injury.

"Phillip was like a big brother to us," backup end Demetric Evans said. "The most impressive thing was a guy that was his backup, he invited to go to the Super Bowl with him and pretty much mold me and wanted me to do his workout regimen. How many guys in the league, starters, would give their backups that opportunity?"


Breaking Burgundy Top Stories