Monday, July 21, 2008

Taylor to Skins: What Does It Mean to the Birds?

By Justin Harlan - After a devastating first day of camp where the Skins lose several players to injury including DEs Phillip Daniels and Alex Buzbee, it appears that the Redskins and the Dolphins have come to an agreement on a deal that sends the all-pro pass rusher and world class ballroom dancer to Washington for draft picks in 2009 and 2010.

The AP reports that the Fins get a 2009 2nd rounder and a 2010 6th rounder for the 33 year old DE. Taylor is signed through 2010, though many believe he plans to retire after this season. Either way, Taylor changes the face of the Redskins defense, pairing with Andre Carter, who racked up 10 and 1/2 sacks of his own last year, to create a monstrous pass rush.

What does this acquisition mean to the Eagles going into the 2008 campaign? Honestly, not much. A new coaching staff likely means that the adjustment period will be too much to deal with for the Skins to be any better than a .500 team. Adjustments to new schemes in all phases of the game should create a hefty learning curve and the addition of even one of the league's best DEs shouldn't be enough to change that.

What it does mean is that all of the NFC East teams have very formidable pass rushes, putting the Eagles at the bottom in that category going into the season. Clemons, Abiamiri, and Smith are unknowns at this point. Parker is coming off a down season, though in limited duty should bring more to the table. With the potential of being great, the 2008 Birds pass rush is a big question mark that, on paper, looks to rank 4th in the division.

It also means that in all 6 divisional games this year, the O-Line will have their jobs cut out for them. Big Nasty and Tra will have to go up against very strong pass rush duos in Tuck/Umenyiora, Taylor/Carter, and Ware/Ellis. Despite the ages of the Birds bookends, if Thomas and Runyan remain healthy, the Birds should soar. This is the biggest thing the Taylor acquisition means to the Eagles... simply put, Taylor is another reason the offensive line needs to play strong all year.

No comments: