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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Jason Taylor has been an NFL player for more than a decade, but in his first training camp with the New York Jets, he feels like he's cramming for a test before every practice.
"I think in 13 years I've never opened up my playbook in my dorm room or hotel room or at home after work," Taylor said Wednesday from the field after the Jets' morning practice. "You put the time in at work and you grind it out and watch the tape and try to learn it, but it came a little easier. Here, I open the playbook up every time I get a chance -- in the locker room before practice, in the dorm room. It's pretty complex."
He said the way the jobs are divvied up in Rex Ryan's defense is very different from what he was used to with the Dolphins.
|Learning the Jets' defense is a full-time job for newcomer Jason Taylor.|
"Terminology is different, the way we get lined up and what they call everything what your responsibilities are," Taylor said. "In some defenses you can learn your job, and as long as you know your job you can kind of get lost with what everybody else needs to do.
"I've always been a guy that I want to understand the whole defense. So in Miami, for years and years, when they made the call I would know what the corners were doing, the safeties were doing, the inside guys -- so you know the concept of the defense, you know what to expect. Here it's hard to learn everybody's job right now. Trust me."
There have been moments in training camp where Taylor looks a little tentative, and he has been turning to Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace to get some tutoring. Pace, who came to the Jets in 2008 after five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, likes having Taylor in the mix.
"We talk about how to do certain things," Pace said. "He may ask me about a coverage or a blitz. A lot of times we just might talk about his experience in Miami or my experience here or in Arizona. There's only so much you can talk football, especially right now."
But the fact that Taylor's public persona has demanded a lot of attention over the years (e.g. his stint on the hit ABC show "Dancing with the Stars") hasn't made Taylor a difficult person to get to know.
"I think a lot of people have misconceptions about these guys who've done a lot in their careers who probably are destined for the Hall of Fame and they think they're above everyone else but they're not," Pace said. "If anything they're more humble and down to earth than guys who get drafted."
"What you do off the field, and the personality or the name that you make for yourself, doesn't have anything to do with team chemistry or finding your role," he said. "This is what I do for a living, it's not who I am or defines who I am. It's what I do for a living and I try to be the best at it."
Jane McManus is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow her on Twitter.
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