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Sean Taylor: Scared Straight?

Sean Taylor: Scared Straight?


You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

The news that Sean Taylor has reached a plea agreement with Miami prosecutors that will keep him out of jail and land him an NFL suspension that will be minimal if there is one at all certainly was welcome among all those who follow and, especially, who are employed by, the Redskins. The situation, which has been going on for a year, isn’t quite concluded yet. Taylor has to do some community service type things in Miami area schools and he’ll be on probation for 18 months. But it’s just about over and there are a couple of things that need to be said about it in retrospect.

First, most of those who are complaining that this was a case of someone with money get off easy don’t know what they’re talking about. And I’m not claiming that I know what I’m talking about in this instance either. I wrote here a while ago that the charges against Taylor didn’t seem to fit what had transpired on that day in West Perrine, the depressed community near Miami. If felony charges carrying mandatory jail time were pressed every time there were threats and punches exchanged on the streets of places like West Perrine, the courts and prisons would be jammed to the gills.

Regardless of that, if you want to say that Taylor bought his justice or got off easy because he’s an NFL player you need to demonstrate that others, less rich and famous that Taylor, got more severe treatment for committing similar offenses. It’s my educated guess that many, many more such perps end up with community service and probation than go to jail. I don’t have any statistics to back that up, mind you, but neither do most of those crying foul in this situation, either. If anyone has any information to the contrary, please feel free to forward it to me.

The most important thing about this whole affair, however, is not the celebrity justice aspect but the mere fact that it happened. That fact may well have saved Sean Taylor’s life.

A year ago Taylor was not anywhere near where he needed to be and what he was doing did not remotely resemble what he needed to be doing. He was blowing off phone calls from Joe Gibbs and that was the least of his problems. According to this excellent article by Robert Andrew Powell, he possibly carried a gun into a club. Taylor was hanging out in West Perrine with a buddy who was up to all sorts of activities ranging from unsavory to illegal if the contents of the buddy’s house after he moved out are any indication. Instead of spending his days at OTA’s in Ashburn, working out and polishing his knowledge of the defense he was cruising around the housing project in an ATV.

Obviously, this is not a path that a young man who is very talented in his profession and is worth millions of dollars should be on. In fact, it was incredibly stupid for him to be where he was doing what he was doing. Taylor, though, didn’t see it that way. He was bulletproof and he could do whatever he wanted to do, the consequences, if any, be damned.

The consequences came in the form of a felony arrest warrant. Sean Taylor was facing the possibility of spending a good chunk of the rest of his life in jail. No matter how flimsy the charges may have seemed or how much the prosecutor may have seemed to be overreaching in pressing such serious charges, the time behind bars was staring him right in the face.

It appears that he has been scared straight. On the first day of training camp last summer Taylor stayed out in the hot sun and signed autographs for all of the kids who wanted one. While he wasn’t exactly glib with the media he was much more accommodating than he had been in the past. The more cynical out there might say that this was just PR, an attempt at image rehabilitation. While they might be right to an extent, it does appear that he genuinely has changed for the better.

This could well turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to Sean Taylor. Had Joe Gibbs known what path Taylor was on last year, he himself could not have written a better prescription to knock him off of that path and get him onto the right one. Taylor certainly would not have listened to any lecturing. It took something like this to give him a shot at turning his life around. We will see whether or not he completes that turnaround.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when they moved to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. For details and ordering information, go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Our offseason over/under predictions for the Redskins rumbles on.

Today we are predicting the numbers involving the Redskins pass-catchers.

Redskins receivers/tight ends over-under

The Redskins’ receiving corps was forced to undergo some changes after top wideouts DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon departed via free agency.

How will their replacements do?

How will the talented holdovers perform? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins pass catchers stats.  

RELATED: OVER/UNDER - KIRK COUSINS

WR Terrelle Pryor, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: I know that a lot of people, including Finlay, are looking for a huge year out of Pryor. I think he’ll do well, but a thousand yards is going to elusive. He did go over 1K last year with the Browns with terrible QBs throwing to him. But Pryor also had the benefit of being one of few viable receivers in Cleveland. That’s not the case here. He won’t get anywhere near the 140 targets he got last year. Under

Finlay: Not sure when I said a huge year for Pyror, that seems like Tandler throwing shade, but I do think he is capable of 1,000 yards. The quantity of targets will certainly drop, but the quality should be much greater. In today's NFL, 1,000 yards is no longer the benchmark it once was. The bulk of the league deploys a pass-first offense, and the Redskins definitely do. 25 wideouts went over 1,000 yards last season, including two on the Redskins. Over 

RELATED: WHO IS NEXT AT QB FOR THE REDSKINS?

WR Josh Doctson, 6.5 touchdown receptions

Tandler: When Kirk Cousins sees how well the 2016 first-round pick can get up and high-point the ball Doctson will immediately become the favorite red zone target. I’ve predicted as many as 10 TDs for him this year. That’s bold, perhaps crazy, but I feel safe going with at least seven. Over

Finlay: 10 TDs for basically a rookie wideout is nuts. You're talking Odell Beckham/Randy Moss production. Doctson does have great size and potential for the red zone, but I need to see before I believe. Only Jamison Crowder got to seven touchdowns in 2016, and that was with Kirk Cousins throwing for nearly 5,000 yards. Under

RELATED: OFF-FIELD MISTAKES WON'T IMPACT ON-FIELD RESULTS

WR Jamison Crowder, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: This is the safest bet on the board. His familiarity with Cousins will make him a security blanket when the quarterback gets in trouble. He’s learning and getting better; he ticked up almost 250 yards and 2.5 yards per catch between his rookie and second seasons. And Crowder is durable. Over

Finlay: I like this one. Crowder went for about 850 yards last season, a jump of about 250 yards from his rookie season. Another year with that improvement gets him past 1,000 yards with room to spare. Early last season, Crowder was the 'Skins best receiver. He posted more than 500 yards before the Redskins bye week. In the second half of the year, the focus shifted to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, which probably wasn't a coincidence as both players demanded the ball knowing they were headed for free agency. I expect Crowder to steadily produce all season in 2017. Over

RELATED: OFFER TO COUSINS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH

TE Jordan Reed, 12.5 games played

Tandler: Although we’re hesitant to make predictions about a player’s health, the fact is that this is the only variable for Reed going into the season. If he is on the field he will produce receiving yards and touchdowns by the bushel. Injuries, not defenses, are what slows him down. He skipped OTAs to spend more time strengthening his body and the results should show. But bad luck happens so this is a tough call. He’s due for some good fortune. Over

Finlay: Tandler is setting these totals with Vegas-like precision. This one is tough. In the last two seasons, Reed has played in 26 games, making 17 starts. I would argue the more important stat is starts, because that's when Reed is actually healthy. Last season, after separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Reed tried to gut out a few performances against the Panthers and the Eagles. He was ineffective in both, yet those count for games played. In nine starts in 2015, Reed was a monster, putting up nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Starts are what matter, and the Redskins should hope for at least nine of them. Under

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FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

The Redskins made a mistake issuing a statement about their failed long-term contract negotiations with Kirk Cousins. The team offered too much specific information.

On the field, however, starting next week in training camp, the statement will make zero impact.

Centered around the roller coaster that occurred between Bruce Allen’s statement on Monday afternoon and Kirk Cousins’ Tuesday interview with Grant and Danny on 106.7 the Fan, some Redskins fans think that hopes for the Burgundy and Gold are buried this fall. 

Was Allen’s statement a wise move? No. There was no reason to publicly put out the team’s offer, or more importantly, tell the world that Cousins never countered. It seemed like an attempt to control the conversation, and a lame attempt at that.

But here’s the thing: A deal was never happening

Cousins knew that. The Redskins knew that.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

And the zaniness of Monday and Tuesday should not have any impact on the 2017 season.

If Cousins can do anything, it’s compartmentalize. 

Last season, he dealt with almost the exact same public mess of a contract squabble. The team never offered him remotely close to market value, and the QB still came out and threw for nearly 5,000 yards. 

Cousins will again block out the noise, and deliver his best possible performance for the Redskins. The team should be better too. An improved defense should help immediately (even if that jump goes from bad to average), and a rebuilt receiving group should give Cousins the weapons to again run Jay Gruden’s potent offense. 

There are fan theories that the team might implode, and eventually, go to Colt McCoy or Nate Sudfeld at quarterback. I don’t see that happening. 

Cousins is under contract for 2017. The coaching staff, and the players, know what he can do. Personally, I don’t think the season unravels. Cousins is a good player. He's established a baseline for his performance over the past two years. 

The time since the franchise tag deadline doesn’t change that. The time since the franchise tag doesn’t change Jordan Reed’s ability to get open. It doesn’t change Jamison Crowder’s quickness on the inside or Trent Williams power on the outside.

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I don’t expect the Redskins to run off 13 wins. I’ve already written that I don’t even think the team will make the playoffs. To be clear, however, I don’t think Bruce Allen’s statement will make a difference once the players take the field in real games. 

On Wednesday, Chad Dukes of the Fan asked me if it’s possible that the Redskins season unravels, and things go sideways with Cousins. I don't expect that, and Dukes wondered if I was being overly optimistic. 

Could things fall apart? Sure. Anything is possible in the NFL, and especially with the Redskins. 

For me, however, Cousins' talent in the Redskins offensive system will mitigate the local penchant for crazy. Cousins has thrown for 9,000 yards and completed more than 68 percent of his passes in the last two seasons. He also bet on himself, again, to produce at a high level in 2017.

I think Cousins is smart. I think Gruden's offense will work. I think the Redskins defense will be improved. 

I don’t think this team makes the playoffs, but they should be close. I also don’t think this team implodes. 

Looking at the big picture, I definitely don’t consider myself an optimist. A realist, perhaps, but only time will tell. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! 

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