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Sean Taylor

Sean Taylor

I knew Sean Taylor about as well as 95% of the other media types who have frequented Redskins Park for the past few years, which is to say not at all. There were the occasional group press conferences, usually at some point during training camp, where Taylor would playfully deflect our queries about all but on-field matters. When talking about playing safety he was smiling and expansive. Most other questions, ranging from his legal issues to his weight, were brushed aside with short non-answers.

A handful of times after games he would talk to the gathered media in the locker room, again focusing strictly on what happened on the field. Even those sessions ended well over a year ago. Last season, after he scooped up that blocked field goal against Dallas and returned it to put the Redskins into position to kick the game-winning field goal, a group gathered at his locker, but he simply dressed quietly and left. Good game or bad, the behavior was the same.

By all indications his persona with the press was just that. Behind closed doors with his teammates and coaches we hear of a great, funny, personable guy. The press and public got an occasional glimpse of this side of Sean Taylor, but the looks were brief and fleeting.

So we had to settle for knowing Sean Taylor, #21 for the Washington Redskins. For most of three years we saw flashes of greatness interspersed with some learning pains. This year the great plays became more frequent and the mistakes fewer and further between. He wasn't yet a truly great player, but he was well on his way t becoming one. Taylor was just 24 and his future was, to say the least, very bright.

And now that future no longer exists. After most of us went to bed on the heels of positive news about Taylor's potential for being able to recover, we woke up this morning with the news that Sean Taylor didn't make it.

Sad, tragic, horrible, senseless. There just isn't a word that fits.

I don't see how the Redskins can play on Sunday—then again, I don't see how they can't. This isn't the first time that a player has died during the season. I remember during the late 1960's a Detroit Lions player named Chuck Hughes had a heart problem, collapsed on the field during a game, and died shortly afterwards. In the 1950's, a Redskins player—I can't remember the name and I don't have a chance to look it up right now—died after being shot during the season. A college player, ironically one from the University of Miami, was gunned down in a parking lot about a year ago. In all of those cases, the ensuing game was played.

And not only do the Redskins have a game on Sunday, they have one four days later, a Thursday night game against the Bears. Normally the coaches would be working on two game plans this week. Now, it will be extremely challenging to come up with one.

It's too early to look at the long-term implications of this as far as the Redskins are concerned. Certainly, a short-term plan to replace Taylor on the field now has to turn into a long-term plan. The fifth overall pick in the draft just a few years ago is now gone in the worst possible way.

Finally, there is the crime aspect of this story. I think that this will develop into a huge story in the coming days and weeks. I'm not an expert on burglary by any stretch, but I do know that it's extremely rare for those who commit that crime to be armed. It's even more unusual for the perps to kick down a door and start firing shots. I have a suspicion that this is related to the incident that landed him in legal trouble in 2005, but that's just a feeling.

For now, though, the focus is on the loss of Taylor, the father, the son, the friend, the teammate. The side of Taylor that we didn't know is at the forefront on this day.


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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 22, 20 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The underrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/29/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Here, in no particular order, are three underrated events from 2017. Tomorrow we’ll look at three events that were overrated at the time they happened.  

Beating the Rams in Week 2—Nobody got particularly excited when the Redskins went to the LA Memorial Coliseum and beat a Rams team that had gone 4-12 in 2016. Sure, there was a belief that they were in good hands with Sean McVay but nobody saw them as anything better than a middle of the pack team. The win looks much more impressive now as the 11-4 Rams have locked up their division with a playoff game in their future.

Drafting safety Montae Nicholson—He was a fourth-round pick who had a shoulder injury and appeared to be a reach. But once he got on the field, the reasons the Redskins drafted him became apparent. His range and hard hitting had an immediate impact on the game. Nicholson had problems staying on the field and he will finish the year on IR, so his impact this year was diminished. Regardless, he has a good chance of being part of the solution to a position with which the Redskins have had issues for years.

Ty Nsekhe’s injury—Against the Raiders in Week 3, Shawn Lauvao’s facemask had an issue and he had to leave the game for a play. In came Nsekhe without an opportunity to warm up. He suffered a core muscle injury and had to undergo surgery. His absence didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but Trent Williams suffered a knee injury the next week and other offensive linemen were sidelined with injuries over the next several weeks. Nsekhe was inactive until the Week 10 game against the Vikings and he didn’t start a game until the Thanksgiving game against the Giants. He sure would have been useful to have in the lineup instead of T.J. Clemmings or Tyler Catalina.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 7
—NFL Draft (4/26) 63
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 199

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Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Everything in the NFL feels like a powder keg, but the reality of Tuesday's opening of the franchise and transition tag period will play out as much more of a slow burn.

Few teams ever actually make moves on the opening day of the tag period, though the Dolphins bucked that conventional wisdom and used the non-exclusive franchise designation on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. 

Astute Redskins fans know the tag system all too well. Landry can now sign a one-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Dolphins worth more than $16 million, the average of the top-five paid receivers in the NFL.

They can also trade Landry and the compensation discussion with a non-exclusive tag begins at two first-round draft picks, though it can eventually be settled for much less. 


What, if anything, does Miami's move mean for the Redskins? Let's take a look:

  1. Not gonna work here - Landry never really seemed like a great fit for the Redskins as a free agent, and that was before the franchise tag. He's a really good slot WR, but Washington already has that in Jamison Crowder. Whether or not Landry actually gets a deal done with the Dolphins or gets traded, it seems highly unlikely the Redskins are his next team. 
  2. "Spirit of the tag" - Miami putting the tag on Landry so early in the process signals that the team might be trying to trade him instead of actually trying to sign him. If that's the case, and plenty of people are suggesting just that, it would seem to be in contrast with the "spirit of the tag." The idea is that a franchise or transition tag is supposed to be used as a tool by an NFL franchise to get a long-term deal done with one of their own players facing free agency. Using the tag as a mechanism to pull of a trade seems very different. Why does any of this matter for Redskins fans? As reports emerged that Washington might look to use a tag on Kirk Cousins and work to trade him, the Cousins camp has made clear they would file a grievance against that technique. Why? Because it would violate the spirit of the tag. Well, it sure looks like Miami is doing the same thing, and as of now, nobody has complained. The situations aren't identical; few resemble the Redskins long, slow, awkward dance with Cousins. But it's certainly worth monitoring. 
  3. Wide Receiver$ - The Redskins could use a veteran wideout to help their young group of Crowder and Josh Doctson. Well, with Landry getting tagged, the price tag just went up. The player that seems to make the most sense in Washington would be Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson. Coming off a knee injury in 2017, some thought Robinson could be signed on a somewhat team-friendly deal. If Landry can get franchised after a season where he didn't even get to 1,000 yards receiving, any thought of a team-friendly deal for Robinson is dead. Make no mistake, Landry and Robinson are good players, but the ever-increasing NFL salary cap will make both young receivers very well paid. 

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