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Tuesday, September 23, 2008
What will Jason Taylor's absence mean for 'Skins?

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
 
 Diamond Images/Getty Images
 Defensive end Jason Taylor will miss Sunday's game against the Cowboys.

The Redskins traded for veteran defensive end Jason Taylor for days just like this Sunday against the Cowboys. When Philip Daniels went down with a season-ending knee injury in training camp, Redskins executive vice president Vinny Cerrato quickly worked a deal with the Dolphins.

Now, Taylor's streak of playing in 133 consecutive games will come to an end because of a medical procedure on his leg Monday. Taylor was kicked in the shin against the Cardinals. The injury couldn't have happened at a worse time. After looking like a non-factor in the Redskins' first two games, Taylor played well against Kurt Warner and applied plenty of pressure. [Updated: I tried to give Taylor a sack in the game, but his one sack of the season actually came against the Saints]

The Eagles, Browns and Packers haven't been able to get pressure on Romo, and he's burned them all with long passes. Taylor's absence will force defensive coordinator Greg Blache to blitz more Sunday, and that's not the strength of the Redskins' defense.

This is not a secondary that forces a lot of coverage sacks. To this point, I think Taylor has looked pretty uncomfortable at times in Blache's scheme. When he's able to return, Blache needs to do a better job of moving him around and finding the best matchups. He's not particularly strong against the run, and that's where teams such as the Giants and Cowboys flourish. He's definitely made a move over the past couple of weeks, but he's not the dominant player the Redskins hoped he'd be.

Seventh-year defensive end Demetric Evans will replace Taylor. I think Evans will have a big game. He played for the Cowboys early in his career, and he loves playing against them. I talked to him last season about his time in Dallas, and he said he begins every season by circling those dates on the schedule. I know some of you (many) think I'm nuts, but it really wouldn't surprise me if Evans has a big game. Now in his fifth year with the Redskins, Evans has a 8 1/2 career sacks with the club.