To round out Around the AFC East, we finish up with Matty I from The Phinsider and a discussion about Jason Taylor.
PP: Aside from Jason Taylor's impact on the field (which I don't think will be that overwhelming), talk about the intangibles. JT is known to be a fixture in the Miami community. What does it mean to not only Dolphins fans but Miami residents to have one of their icons back?
TP: Well, first I'd like to point out that saying Taylor's on-field impact won't be that overwhelming is unfair. He's not going to put up double-digit sacks but he also won't be asked to. He's likely going to be asked to play 20 to 25 snaps per game as a pass-rusher in nickel and dime situations as well as giving Joey Porter a breather every now and again in the base defense to keep both players fresh. And if you saw Porter play down the stretch last year, you'd know he disappeared by the fourth quarter because he had no help and was out of gas. So Taylor might not be super-productive, but if he can help Porter be the monster he can be for 4 quarters rather than just 3, I'd say Taylor's impact was huge.
I'd also like to take a moment to guarantee that, at some point during the 2009 season, Jason Taylor will make a play - a sack, an interception, a forced fumble - that wins a football game for the Dolphins. That's what he does. Even in the disgusting 2007 season, in the one game the Dolphins did win - they don't win if Taylor doesn't block a Matt Stover field goal. Taylor also threw in two drive-ending sacks in that game as well for good measure. So you can take my guarantee here to the bank. Taylor will make some kind of play that wins a game.
But Taylor's return to Miami, like you point out, is about much more than production. It's about a true South Florida sports icon returning to the city he loves and the franchise that's always been in his heart. He took much less money to come home. He passed on a chance to be on the field more in New England to come home. Some would say he passed on a better chance to win a championship just to come home. That says a lot about how Taylor feels about the Dolphins and the city of Miami. And I recently wrote a post about how I've never seen an ugly divorce and then a reunion one year later actually grow a player's legacy. But that's exactly what happened with Taylor.
So in a nut shell, Dolphin fans everywhere (and especially those in the Miami area) get that warm, fuzzy feeling in their stomachs when they think about JT's return. The move generates even more of a buzz about the Dolphins than there already was following their amazing 2008 turnaround. The move sells more tickets at Land Shark Stadium. And I can guarantee you that the house will be rocking on Monday Night Football when the Dolphins have their home opener in week two against the Colts and the fans get the chance to really welcome back one of the Dolphins' all-time greats.
Relieving Porter, as Matty I points out, will be Taylor's primary role and may be just what the doctor ordered to keep Porter fresh. That's bad news for us. However, I think his return to the team has an intangible value and that is pride. One of their own "heroes" is coming back and that will boost morale, I'm sure. Just think how we'd feel if Mike Vrabel decided to end his career in NE?
Thanks to Matty I from The Phinsider for his very cool info about JT and the impact his return has had on the Miami community and the Dolphins. That wraps it up for this week's edition of Around the AFC East.