Jason Taylor feels like a kid again

August, 18, 2010
8/18/10
3:55
PM ET
When practice was over Wednesday morning, Jason Taylor, LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Cromartie and Santonio Holmes -- the offseason class of 2010 -- posed in uniform for a magazine photo shoot. So far in training camp, you've read about Tomlinson's fresh legs, Cromartie's coverage skills and Holmes' big-play ability. But there hasn't been much buzz about Taylor.

The former Miami Dolphins pass rusher appeared in only 10 defensive snaps Monday night against the New York Giants -- no impact plays -- and he hasn't really stood out on the practice field. Don't worry, Taylor said. It's still early, and he's pacing himself through the preseason. Considering his resume, he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

The important issue with Taylor, 35, is his surgically repaired shoulder, and he claimed it's a non-issue.

"It feels like I'm 16 again," he said. "It's unbelievable. I should've (had surgery) four years ago, but I didn't want the surgery. I didn't want the recovery. I wanted to play golf in the offseason. I didn't want to have to deal with all that. I felt efficient enough, but now that I've had it done, I realize I should've done it a long time ago."

The Jets ticked off many of their fans by signing their longtime nemesis as a free agent, hoping he can improve their fourth-quarter pass rush. Rex Ryan said Taylor has impressed in other ways as well.

"He's a much better run defender than I thought," said Ryan, adding that the Taylor-Calvin Pace-Bryan Thomas trio at outside linebacker is "as good as anybody in the league."

Right now, Taylor is working with the second-team base defense, getting some reps with the No. 1 nickel and dime packages. He will be used in a variety of ways -- standing up, in a three-point stance, left side, right side. He loves the flexibility in Ryan's defense.

"I look forward to it," he said. "You never know what it's going to be. It's kind of like it was in '06, when I was the (NFL) Defensive Player of the Year. That's the way I like it."

An opposing scout told ESPNNewYork.com that Taylor still can be an effective pass rusher if used in that manner, but warned that Taylor will wear down if he's on the field too much. Taylor played about 80% of the defensive snaps last season for the Dolphins. It won't be nearly that much for the Jets.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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