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News » Taylor makes Miami's D a lot better


Taylor makes Miami's D a lot better


Taylor makes Miami's D a lot better
So the Dolphins signed Jason Taylor. I'm sure a lot of Bills fans responded with a scoff and a shrug.


Taylor? He's over the hill, a shell of his former self. He'll be 35 in September. The guy is more interested in being a TV star than a Pro Bowler. It's only a one-year deal, more hype than it is substance.

Of course, people around the NFL were saying the same things when the Bills signed Terrell Owens.

Taylor is well past his prime. He's not close to the pass-rushing force he was three years ago, when he was named the NFL's defensive player of the year. Taylor probably won't be an every-down player with the Dolphins next season. He might be a situational pass rusher, someone to turn loose at the quarterback on obvious passing downs.

But don't kid yourselves. This is a good signing for the Dolphins. It makes a good defense even better. A lot of experts are dismissing Miami as a one-year wonder, as a fluke team that won the AFC East because of a soft schedule and the injury to the Pats' Tom Brady.

This is a clear indication that Bill Parcells, the vice president of Football operations, believes the Dolphins can make a run for it. Parcells traded Taylor last year when the six-time Pro Bowler skipped offseason workouts to take part in "Dancing With The Stars." Why would Parcells sign him to a one-year deal if he didn't think he could win right now?

Taylor spent one unproductive and injury-plagued season with the Redskins. He forced his way out of Washington, giving up his $8.5 million salary, for a chance to go back to Miami. His one-year deal with the Dolphins is worth only $1.5 million, with incentives.

Evidently, Taylor wants to make things right with his old team. He wants to be close to his family, in his hometown. Taylor is said to be healthy again, and sufficiently humbled by his difficult season in Washington. He will be highly motivated to get back in the playoffs for the first time in eight years.

Parcells watched film of every snap that Taylor played last season. The man is not ruled by sentiment. Parcells believes Taylor can still play at a high level. So does Parcells' former defensive protege, Bill Belichick. The Patriots were hot for Taylor and reportedly made a bigger contract offer. The Jets were interested in having Taylor play for new coach Rex Ryan. The Bills showed mild interest.

Parcells traded Taylor to the Redskins last year for a second-round pick. Last month, he used the pick on quarterback Pat White, who will become an intriguing option in the Wildcat attack. Now, he brings back Taylor on the cheap. Yes, the division got a little tougher when Parcells showed up in Miami.

The Dolphins don't need Taylor to be a dominant force -- any more than the Bills need Owens to catch 80 passes. What they need is a supplementary pass rusher to go along with Joey Porter, who had 171/2 sacks last season at age 31.

Taylor will make it harder for teams to double-team Porter, in the same way that Owens is expected to make it more difficult for the Bills' opponents to double No. 1 wideout Lee Evans.

I'm sure Miami will be thrilled if Taylor gets 10 sacks, which is what a certain Bruce Smith had for the Bills at 35.

Look, if Parcells and Belichick were fighting to get Taylor, that's a lofty endorsement. Owens should make a big difference in the Bills' offense. But it's not as if teams were clamoring to sign him as a free agent. Objective observers might be led to believe that Taylor could be a more significant signing than T.O.

Whatever your opinion, the AFC East just got a little more competitive. The Bills lost twice to Miami last season, scoring one touchdown in two games. Porter had four sacks and two forced fumbles, without much help from his defensive line. Imagine how tough it'll be for the Bills to block him now.

e-mail: jsullivan@buffnews.com



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 16, 2009

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Patrick Cobbs Name: Patrick Cobbs
#38
Position: RB
Age: 25
Experience: 3 years
College: North Texas
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