A first-round pick out of Baylor in 2011, the 6-foot-3, 343-pound Taylor hadn’t played a game since 2014. He spent the first four seasons of his career with the Cleveland Browns. But he missed much of the 2014 season with a right knee injury that required surgery. After setbacks in 2015 and 2016, Taylor signed with Washington on a non-guaranteed deal this past winter.
After entering spring practices as the third nose tackle behind Joey Mbu and A.J. Francis, Taylor climbed the depth chart during training camp and the preseason and appeared poised to lock up the starting job. Taylor had displayed impressive quickness and strength as he rounded back into form.
Taylor injured himself on the second defensive play of the game and did not return. He left FedEx Field with his quad heavily wrapped.
With Taylor done for the season, Redskins coaches now must settle on their next best option. Ninth-year veteran Ziggy Hood has seen time at both nose tackle and defensive end. He’s the most experienced of the remaining candidates. Francis and Mbu, who both spent time on Washington’s practice squad last season, saw action at nose tackle after Taylor got hurt Sunday.
Stacy McGee, a free agent addition this spring, played nose tackle for Oakland, but the Redskins have used him primarily as an end, believing he’s the better fit there.
Fortunately for the Redskins, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula has frequently rotated all of his players using different pairings and putting them at multiple positions to ensure improved versatility and depth.
This is the second defensive player the Redskins have lost for the duration of the 2017 season, with outside linebacker Trent Murphy suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Washington’s first preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens.