Diner morning news: Is Taylor a fit in New York?
QUOTE: “We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Kavanagh”
Even Fireman Ed is confused
With the Jets going all out in their recruitment of former (and current?) Jets hater Jason Taylor, I wonder what their objective is this offseason. Are they trying to get older and wiser, with veteran backups at critical positions? I understand that Vernon Gholston stinks, and in spite of GM Mike Tannenbaum’s proclamation that Gholston is still in the plans, anyone who watches Jets game tapes knows Tannenbaum’s words are hollow, that he’s just protecting his pick. (By the way, a pick that no one -- and I mean no one -- in the Jets personnel department remembers making. I believe the day after we find out the truth on the JFK assassination we’ll discover who actually picked Gholston.)
But back to Taylor. As many Jets fans know, Taylor has been very vocal about his dislike for the team. He’s never backed down at a chance to rip them, but Wednesday he was in a helicopter with his wife, flying over the new stadium and dining in New York City at Del Posto with Jets brass. This is a giant step for Taylor, something I’m sure he never thought would happen — but then again, he never thought Rex Ryan would be so persistent in recruiting him. Ryan is the driving force behind this because he wants to add Taylor as a down lineman, not a linebacker.
In Ryan’s scheme, Taylor would be able to move all over the field and give the Jets another potential rusher to go along with Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas. But based on the last two years, Taylor has not been the Taylor that Jets fans have learned to hate. He doesn’t have the same quickness or burst that made him a onetime dynamic rusher. The Dolphins tried to play Taylor at outside backer, but he’s not suited to play in space, and unless the Dolphins rushed Taylor and Joey Porter on every play, both were liabilities in the passing game. Taylor and Porter made the Dolphins slow on defense — in fact, the Dolphins’ defense last year was not a 3-4 but rather a high school 5-2 (five down linemen and just two linebackers). This lack of speed at outside backer is the reason the Fins are looking to add more versatile backers and don’t seem to have an interest in bringing back Taylor.
The Jets are limited in what they can spend on Taylor based on the final eight rules — which is a good thing because, based on Ryan’s love of Taylor and his belief he can get 15 sacks for them next season, the Jets might overpay. Taylor won’t get 15 sacks, and we all know Ryan has no inner voice; he just says what he thinks. Fifteen sacks are hard for anyone to achieve, but Ryan believes his scheme will enhance Taylor’s game. If this were 2000, I would believe Ryan, but it’s 2010, and I don’t believe, based on tape, that Taylor is capable of double-digit sacks.
The Jets are still riding high from last year and clearly believe they can become the fountain of youth for players, but I’m not sold — and neither is Fireman Ed.
No one can accurately pick a team that loves Jimmy Clausen or know what part of the first round he’ll be selected. Friday, Clausen will work out on campus at Notre Dame, and we’ll be able to gain more information about his final destination. His workout will still be affected by his toe injury, but Clausen knows he has to throw and show the decision-makers that he’s a starter in the league. It will be a big day for him.
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