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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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Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

RICHMOND—While Kirk Cousins has had a lot of success in his first two seasons as the Redskins’ starting quarterback, he and the team didn’t finish last season the way they wanted to. They lost four of their last six games to finish out of a playoff spot. With the game on the line in the season finale against the Giants, Cousins threw an interception as the team was driving for a late score to win or tie the game. The loss was the final blow to their playoff hopes.

As with any disappointing situation, Cousins and the team must walk a line between learning from the mistakes that were made—and there were many beyond the Cousins interception—and dwelling on the past. Cousins said today that the failure to make the playoffs will help drive the team this year.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

“I think what it does is it gives us an edge, because we stay humble and hungry because we left the season realizing we do have a long ways to go,” Cousins said of the late-season woes. “We do need to improve if we want to go in the direction that we all believe we can. In that sense we’ll take the silver lining that nobody is content, nobody is entitled, nobody feels like we can rest on what we’ve done in the past.”

While they can focus on the silver lining for now, Cousins says that they realize that coming close to the playoffs but missing out year after year won’t cut it. That’s what gets coaches fired and leads to players losing their jobs.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

“We do feel like a lot rides on this season up ahead,” he said. “Hopefully, that gives us a sense of urgency all through training camp to be really focused, and as a result gets the best out of every one of us so that our team can play as well as we possibly can.”

Cousins is playing on the one-year franchise tag. He has been quick to point out that many of his teammates are either on one-year deals or in the final season of a multi-year deal. Cousins is one of over a dozen starters or key contributors who will become free agents in 2018. If they are going to stay around they can’t go 2-4 down the stretch like they did last year.

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

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Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

RICHMOND—As Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins goes into playing under the franchise tag for the second straight season, the phrase commonly used about him is that he is betting on himself, eschewing the long-term security of a multiyear deal in favor hoping to improve his leverage by playing on the tags.

However, Cousins said that is a misconception.

“I don’t know that I ever bet on myself, I bet on the system, he said. “It has nothing to do with myself. I’m just going out and playing and there’s never been anything but positive feelings. I’m excited to get to work here. As I’ve said, my wife and I love it here and we’re in a good place.”

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Ever since the deadline for him to sign a long-term contract this year came and went without a new deal, Cousins has been trying to debunk the notion that he has a desire to leave the Redskins as soon as he can. Appearing on 106.7 The Fan last week, Cousins said that the Redskins are his “first choice” to be his team going forward. He talked positively about his future in Washington again today after the Redskins first training camp walkthrough.

Although there was talk that the contract negotiations took a sour turn at the end after team president Bruce Allen revealed some of the details of the team’s final offer to Cousins, Cousins indicated today that everything is fine.

“W e’ve done a good job communicating between me and the team,” he said. “We’re on the same page and we’ve done everything we can possibly do to get that settled and move forward. I think we’re all in a good place right now and we’ve got enough to worry about getting our offense playing at the level we need to have a great season so I can be back in future years.”

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

What it really comes down to, what Cousins believes will make things good in the future for him and the Redskins, is success on the field.

“If you win football games, everything else takes care of itself,” he said.

“In the offseason, the ball’s in the team’s court. But from Week 1 to Week 17, the ball’s in my court and I’ve got to go play football well. That’s where my focus is.”

There likely will be more talk of Cousins future beyond the 2017 seas in the coming weeks and months. It appears that for right now that is the furthest thing from Cousins’ mind.

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