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Taylor Making An Impact Early On

Posted Aug 22, 2004

All last week, Gregg Williams warned rookie safety Sean Taylor he might drop him in coverage against Miami’s speedy wide receiver Chris Chambers.

On Saturday night, during the preseason game’s first series at Pro Player Stadium, the Redskins’ assistant head coach-defense followed through on his promise.

He put Taylor into coverage twice against Chambers.

The first play was an eight-yard completion for a first down.

The second play was a five-yard completion across the middle of the field. Enter Taylor. He laid a strong hit on Chambers, wrestled the ball out of his arms and quickly pounced on the ball.

Turnover.

Washington took possession and Clinton Portis subsequently led the offense downfield for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. The Redskins would go on to win the game 17-0.

Taylor made his first preseason start on Saturday night.

He had flashed enough in the first two preseason games and in practice to show coaches he was ready to assume the mantle of starting safety. Third-year player Andre Lott had started the first two games.

Whether he’s running with the first team or second team, Taylor has coaches excited about his potential. His imposing size--6-3 and 230 pounds--and his penchant for big hits should make receivers wary.

He also gives Williams plenty of flexibility in creating a defensive game plan.

In preseason so far, the Redskins’ 2004 first-round draft pick (fifth overall) has logged seven tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.

That’s four turnovers in three games.

In the Hall of Fame Game against Denver on Aug. 9, he even returned an interception for a touchdown in the Hall of Fame Game, a play that gave the Redskins momentum in a 20-17 win.

Said head coach Joe Gibbs: "Sean makes a lot of plays. He’s continuing to move up for us. From what I’ve seen from the sidelines, he covers a lot of ground. We’ll look at the film and see how he did, but we’re real pleased. We think we got ourselves a real good player there."

Miami’s Pro Player Stadium was an ideal place for Taylor to make his first NFL start.

He grew up in Miami and played his college ball at the University of Miami. By his estimate, he had about 50-60 family members and friends among the crowd on Saturday night.

"Everything is working out pretty smooth right now," Taylor said. "I’m just taking it step by step and making plays is part of it. Every time I’m out there, I’m trying to capitalize. I’m focusing hard on making turnovers."

"I’m putting in a lot of hard work," he said. "What you put in is what you’re going to get out. If you put in a lot of hard work on forcing turnovers, you’re going to reap the benefits."

 

 

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