When safety Sean Taylor was at the University of Miami he patterned himself after fellow Hurricane Ed Reed, a safety with the Baltimore Ravens; Sunday night the Redskins rookie will get a chance to oppose his mentor for the first time in the NFL. Taylor's playmaking and ball-hawking skills drew comparisons to Reed coming out of college, but the first-year player is still looking for his first signature moment with Washington after regularly causing turnovers in the preseason.
Reed is notorious for blocking punts and intercepting passes for touchdowns, and Taylor shares many of Reed's physical attributes, including great speed. Taylor is much bigger than Reed however, with the body of a linebacker, and Washington hopes he will develop into a constant disruptive force. Taylor has steadily progressed into a starter with the Redskins, taking over in the third game, but like most rookies -- particularly defensive backs -- he is growing into his role. His goal in time is to duplicate the success Reed, a Pro Bowl safety, has had in the NFL.
"I look at him," Taylor said of Reed. "He came from the same school and I always tried, when I was coming up, let me see what he did and let me see if I can do it a bit better. What can I do to help my game? I definitely learned a lot from him and the way he looked at things. He's one of those guys I looked up to and now I'm on the other side of the field playing him. I'm sure there won't be too much about it, but it's definitely special."
Taylor is the latest in a line of prominent players to come from Miami, and he has also spent some time around Baltimore's Pro Bowl linebacker, Ray Lewis, another Hurricane. Like most of the former Miami players, Lewis returns to South Florida each offseason to work out with the current crop of Hurricanes.
"I don't think there's a UM guy who doesn't know a UM guy if you came through there," Taylor said of Lewis. "We do our separate thing, but we know each other."
Arrington Is Still Out
The Redskins have listed linebacker LaVar Arrington (knee), linebacker Mike Barrow (knee) and end Phillip Daniels (groin) as out. Safety Andre Lott (questionable with a hamstring), cornerback Shawn Springs (probable, ankle) offensive lineman Ray Brown (probable, hamstring) and end Ron Warner (probable ankle) did not practice. Return man Chad Morton (knee) practiced and is listed as probable. Wide receiver Laveranues Coles is nursing a sore finger and did not practice but was not listed on the injury sheet because he was officially rested as a coach's decision and will play Sunday. . . .
The Ravens do not expect to have Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap, starting wide receiver Travis Taylor and starting center Mike Flynn active for Sunday's game, which would not help the odds of one of the league's weakest offenses moving the ball through the air. Second-year quarterback Kyle Boller is particularly fond of Heap, his favorite target, and likely will look to emerging wide receiver Randy Hymes on key third-down sequences as he usually does with Heap. . . . During his news conference with the Baltimore media yesterday, Ravens Coach Brian Billick was asked if he thought the game had passed Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs by. "That's ludicrous, that's absurd," Billick said. "The man is a brilliant coach."