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Taylor's Back--And Getting His Kicks, Too

Posted Jun 16, 2006

Saying a "gray cloud" has been lifted from him, Sean Taylor is now looking to improve his game, writes Casey Husband. Redskins 2006

On Friday afternoon, during one sequence of the Redskins’ first mini-camp session, Sean Taylor was involved in coverage of Santana Moss. Todd Collins lofted a pass that fell incomplete, right at the feet of Taylor.

The Redskins’ third-year safety out of Miami ran up on the ball and, nonchalantly, gave it a solid boot. Claudio Reyna, DeMarcus Beasley or any other U.S. World Cup star would have been proud of Taylor’s effort.

Literally and figuratively, Sean Taylor was back with the Redskins and getting his kicks out of his favorite game.

For the moment, after a protracted legal situation in South Florida, Taylor can begin to focus on such matters as looking for ways to help lift the Redskins back into the playoffs.

Along the way, he’ll be trying to move up the ladder in terms of establishing himself as one of the league’s top safeties.

The NFL has yet to weigh in regarding any possible penalties that may stem from Taylor’s 2005 off-the-field trouble, so for now the former Hurricane can put all of his energies toward learning about his new teammates and working on his game.

"It’s a great feeling," Taylor admitted in a 15-minute exchange with the media. "I’m glad to be back with my teammates. For my family and my teammates, we’re happy to have everything behind us.

"The other stuff has kind of been like a gray cloud over my head, but now I can see a little bit of light. I have a couple of things I still need to do as far speaking to schools and things like that, but that’s not outside of my limits."

Asked about his first two years in the NFL, Taylor said: "I was pleased with my play but obviously I can get better. I want to be at the top level as far as safeties go. I think I still have a way to travel to be with players like Troy Polamalu or Ed Reed.

"I mean, I’m still only getting two or three interceptions a year, so I’d like to see my interceptions go up. In terms of our team, just getting to the playoffs isn’t good enough for us; we’d like to eventually win a Super Bowl-sooner rather than later."

In his first 32 NFL games, Taylor has proven to be one of the league’s hardest hitters. He’s registered 184 tackles, six interceptions and two sacks.

Taylor’s capacity for making dramatic plays was on display last year in back-to-back weeks when he scooped up fumbles and raced for long TDs in wins at Philadelphia and in the postseason at Tampa Bay.

A stark change faces the 6-3, 230-pound Taylor as he works back into the flow in mini-camp. He’ll no longer have such players as Ryan Clark or Matt Bowen as running mates at safety in Gregg Williams’ defense.

With Clark having moved on to Pittsburgh and Bowen in Buffalo, Taylor figures to team with new Redskin Adam Archuleta in 2006.

As to how long he feels it will take for him to feel comfortable playing alongside the former St. Louis Ram, Taylor said: "I don’t think it’s any problem because once somebody comes into our meeting rooms, we kind of become one. We’ve been meeting together, conversing together, working on plays together--that’s what it’s about.

"If you come here and you don’t want to say anything and you don’t want to speak and be a teammate, then you’re no good to the Washington Redskins. Everybody works together here."

On this first day of mini-camp, Taylor even had a laugh with the media.

Asked to assess his development as an NFL player entering year three, Taylor noted: "I’m always trying to become a better player. I wasn’t the best player last year."

 

 

In jest, he went on: "I’m not the best until you say I’m the best, right?"

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