There's a member of the Redskins' front seven who hasn't played in the last two seasons, and yet, the team is relying on him to produce at a crucial position in 2017.
C'mon, you've read enough stories about Junior Galette by now, haven't you? Because while Galette certainly fits the above description, Phil Taylor does, too — and if he stays healthy, he could end up mattering more to Washington's defense than Galette.
Taylor, who hasn't played in the NFL since 2014 and hasn't had a sack since 2013, looks to be the favorite to win the starting nose tackle job for Greg Manusky's defense. He had a promising camp in Richmond, and through two preseason games, has carried that positive play into game action.
On Monday's edition of Training Camp Daily on CSN, Trevor Matich spoke about what he's seen from No. 99 so far.
"He has not only earned that starting position," Matich said (full video above), "he has shown that he might be that missing force in the middle that the Redskins have not had for a long time, and that is a nose guard that can be a plugger against the run and not get pushed around, but who can also be disruptive."
A 3-4 defense without a nose tackle is like that one Jason Bourne movie without Matt Damon: not very good. And that's an issue that Washington's had for a few years now. So while a rejuvenated Galette would do wonders for the all-important pass rush, having an effective Taylor in the middle of everything may be even more necessary to the Redskins' success.
JP Finlay gave one example of how Taylor can impact a matchup.
"If you got Phil Taylor there at nose, that's going to open those gaps up for Jonathan Allen," Finlay said. "And you talk about what could be a pretty dynamic tandem on the defensive line, a position where the Redskins have not had anything close to dynamic for a number of years. What a veteran like Taylor could do for a rookie like that could be special."
The usual caveat for someone with this story is to not get too excited over a small sample. And some would say the Redskins are foolish for putting so much faith in Taylor's ability to stay on the field and do damage on it as well.
But so far, the reviews on Taylor have been quite encouraging. So while his name isn't as big as Galette's or many other members of the defense, his influence will be if he manages to keep developing.