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Taylor took his case to the people

Taylor took his case to the people

A lot of media sites are posting stories about Sean Taylor that were written at various points during his tragically brief NFL career. The focus is on his arrests, skipping the rookie symposium and other such moments. I have one here that I wrote on the first day of training camp the August following his arrest in Miami in 2005.

There was a glitch in getting my press credential on that day, so I ended up watching with all of the other fans there. As it turned out, it was a fortunate thing. If I'd been inside the fence, I would have gone up to the area where players are interviewed and I never would have seen Taylor taking his image rehabilitation effort straight to the fans.

 

Taylor Works on Image Rehab 

By Rich Tandler

Editor-in-Chief
Posted Aug 2, 2005

As training camp starts, there are a few Redskins who are in the process of rehabbing various body parts—sprained ankles, injured knees, and so on. There is one in camp, however, who is on a mission to rehab a badly bruised reputation.

That player would, of course, be Sean Taylor. After practice in the morning, he went to patch up his reputation with the media. After the afternoon session, he worked on repairing his reputation with the fans. And during the two practice sessions, he did what he does best; he played football. His abilities in that area will certainly be the best medicine in fixing his image.

The session with the fans was extraordinary and hasn't been covered much elsewhere. His face beaded with sweat, Taylor worked his way down the fence at Redskins Park, shaking hands, signing jerseys, hats, footballs, yearbooks, scraps of paper, anything that his Sharpie would write on. He took care of kids and adults, accommodating virtually everyone who wanted his autograph. Taylor even posed for a few pictures with fans.

It seemed to be one of those nice, spontaneous moments but it became evident that it wasn't. Soon after Taylor came over to the fence, a couple of men with large, stuffed duffel bags worked their way into the middle of the crowd. Inside the bags were good quality black backpacks, just in time for back to school, bearing an embroidered "ST 21" logo. They were passed out to kids in the crowd.

Planned or not, Taylor's actions certainly boosted his standing with the several hundred who were there. Most of the members of the media, however, were not there as they were off pursuing other stories. A TV reporter tried to get a comment out of Taylor, but was unsuccessful.

As far as his session with the media, it was refreshing to see that he didn't come out and read a canned statement like some others who have legal problems such as ones stemming from shoving cameramen. While Taylor was far from candid—he wouldn't even say what his weight was—he did take questions from the press, also a departure from the standard playbook.

On field, Taylor was, well, Taylor. Even after a season of seeing the linebacker-sized Taylor line up in the defensive backfield, it still causes one to do a double take. He was hustling out there, once going full out in an obviously-futile effort to catch David Patten after the receiver caught a deep pass. In the 11-on-11 drills he was blitzing frequently, chasing down Patrick Ramsey and Mark Brunell. Late in the afternoon session he snared an interception off of a tipped ball, drawing props from his defensive teammates and a cheer from the crowd.

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

Related: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.