You can’t blame Jason Taylor, Miami’s estranged DE who recently came in second place in the popular Dancing with the Stars television show, for showing some attitude. The guy has been a professional football player since 1997, playing every one of those seasons for the Miami Dolphins.
During that time Taylor has missed just three regular season contests. And there’s no denying that he has been one fine player. In 172 contests, Taylor has made 662 tackles with 491 of them being solo. He’s notched 117 sacks, grabbed seven interceptions and made three touchdowns.
Taylor is simply one of the best to ever play at defensive end in the NFL. In 2006 he had 13.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles and two interceptions for touchdowns. That season he was the league’s Defensive MVP.
Although he’s entering his twelfth NFL season, Taylor has not lost a step. He’s a fine athlete. He uses his speed off the line to gain quick penetration and to disrupt offensive backfields with aplomb. He possesses a fast burst that knocks blockers on their heels, and he utilizes his hands to pop and rip opponents, putting them in a state of imbalance.
It’s difficult for offensive lines to negate his pass rush, due to his speed, agility and forward momentum. Sometimes he’ll find a less traveled route, taking a chance that he’ll outsmart or outplay an opponent. Even if he miscalculates, Taylor can often adjust and gain the advantage.
But Taylor is not just gifted, he is also extremely skilled. He’s learned how to utilize his lean frame to maintain leverage against offensive players. He uses his body, pads and hands to neutralize runners and he has a keen understanding of developing plays that allows him to adjust to fluctuating and changing situations. Along with possessing a fine head, Taylor’s instincts are exceptional.
Every fan, player, coach and GM would have to admit that the DE is extremely talented and skilled. He must be. He’s got a $7.5 million salary. And that salary when considered against Taylor’s ability to contribute to the Dolphin’s defense is what will determine his future and the future of the Fin’s defense.
Taylor is missing voluntary workouts and perhaps the entire Miami mini and training camps. How will that sit with Bill Parcells? Will the Big Tuna, Parcells, allow his ego, which is huge, to guide him? Or will the man who tends to excel for three to five years with a franchise before going onto his next team simply forgive Taylor for his indiscretion or even apologize to him for any slight he may have offered the veteran DE?
Who needs whom more? That’s the big question. The Dolphins certainly can’t afford to waste neither talent nor money.
Look for this issue to be settled and for cooler heads to eventually prevail. Taylor and Parcells are bound to work this out, neither will benefit from discontent and being nonproductive.