Competitive nature of Jason Taylor

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Taylor burns to be the best

By Carl kotala, Florida Today


By Victoria Arocho, AP
Taylor has posted 23 1/2 sacks over the past two seasons.


DAVIE, Fla.  It didn't take long for Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas to see the advantages of having teammate Jason Taylor for a brother-in-law.

"It helps the gene pool," Thomas cracked. "It's going to bring some height to the family."

It could also make for some lively family barbecues.

Because while Thomas  generally considered the heart of the Dolphins' defense  is known for being ultra-competitive, he may have met his match in Taylor.

"When (he) and my sister were dating, she took him home with her and he was playing basketball against my dad," Thomas said. "My dad tried to throw up a shot and instead of kind of being easy on him, (Taylor) throws it out and was talking noise, like 'Get that out of here.'

"Now, c'mon, this is my dad and he's trying to marry my sister. That's how competitive he is. That's when I knew he liked him. My dad loves him."

Taylor, who is sixth on the Dolphins' all-time sack list, has developed a long list of admirers in his five years in South Florida. He's been selected as one of the 10 sexiest athletes by Sports Illustrated, put out his own pin-up calendar and, oh yeah, made the Pro Bowl.

The Dolphins have slapped their franchise tag on him and last year signed him to a six-year, $42 million contract that included a $9 million signing bonus.

But as much as Taylor has going for him, there seems to be a never-ending fire to prove himself as one of the best defensive ends in the NFL.

"Every time he steps out on the field, he drives himself to get better," Dolphins defensive line coach Clarence Brooks said.

Maybe it's because he comes from a small school, the University of Akron. Maybe it's because of the criticism he's received for being an undersized defensive end at 6-foot-6, 260 pounds. Or that he can't play well against the run.

Whatever it is, there's no question that Taylor doesn't plan to stop pushing himself until he's on course for a place he's visited twice  the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"I've got a long way to go before I get to Canton," Taylor said. "I went to school out there, and that's about the closest I'm going to get to it right now.

"Until they're about to make a bronze bust of me, I'm not close to where I need to be."

Maybe not, but there's no question Taylor is preparing hard to follow up a 2001 campaign in which his sack total dropped from 14 1/2 to nine, but his tackle total went up from 68 to 86.

Those who say he can't play the run haven't been watching him. Those who say he is undersized don't understand he makes up for it with strength, quickness and the knowledge picked up from watching hours and hours of film.

They don't understand he's still getting better.

"He's had a tremendous offseason, as he usually does," Brooks said. "He's worked awfully hard. He's done an awful lot, both on the field and in the classroom.

"He's really committed to wanting to have a big year and do some big things. He really wants to be the best. And that drives him."

Taylor's desire to win extends far beyond the football field. In fact, when he and Thomas play offseason basketball games, the rest of their Dolphins teammates insist the two are on the same team just to avoid arguments that nearly turn into fistfights.

As for the basketball game with his future father-in-law, Taylor doesn't exactly remember it that way.

"I don't know about that," he said. "I'll deny that. I might have jokingly said, 'Get that out of here,' or something. Just joking around.

"Sometimes, when I start competing, the competitive juices get to flowing and you don't think about if you're playing against a 70-year-old guy, a 4-year-old girl or a 27-year-old professional football player. I just block out who I'm playing against and I want to win. There's no place in this world for losers."

Taylor once went so far as to keep his wife playing Monopoly for close to five hours while he waited to hear those magical words.

"About 1:30 in the morning, she finally just said, 'All right, you win. I quit,"' Taylor said. "I got up, gave her a hug and a kiss and went to bed. I told her I'd been waiting to hear that for four hours."

Having a teammate for a brother-in-law can be a touchy thing, but Thomas said if anything it has brought the two friends closer together. It was Zach, in fact, who set Taylor up with Katina after his friend saw the two siblings standing next to each other.

"He thought that was my girlfriend at first," Thomas said. "I'm like, 'That's my sister, man.'

"It was love at first sight. And I knew he was a good guy. Most football players, you don't want to set them up with your sister."

Taylor is smart enough to know that while the Dolphins' offseason acquisitions of running back Ricky Williams and offensive coordinator Norv Turner mean Miami will be among the favorites to play in San Diego at the end of the season, there is still a lot of work to be done.

So when it comes to setting his goals for the year, he has decided to go the Al Davis route.

"I know this sounds like the correct thing to say, but more than anything, I just want to win, man," he said. "I'm just so tired of losing late in the year. I'm tired of it.

"I know the individual stuff is part of what makes a team better. It's all the same old things individually  I want to make the Pro Bowl, I want to be an All-Pro. I'd love to lead the league in sacks, a bunch of those little things. But I'd trade it all in if we can win the Super Bowl."
 

dolphan39

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he's crazy - I remember reading he gets mad if he loses to Katina in checkers or something. Man if I was him, I would want/let Katina to beat me all the time :evil: at checkers ;)

Sorry, Zach.
 

GazPhin

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Now that's a role model!!

I guess I'd have let him marry my sister if he had wanted to. Pale skinned ginger beauties don't necessarily look the best next to the tall dark and handsome though.:lol: :lol: :lol:
 

MDFINFAN

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Hey dolphinkee


I'm in the Fort Washington area, but I work in D.C.
 
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FinaticalOne

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Re: Re: Competitive nature of Jason Taylor

Originally posted by dolphan39
he's crazy - I remember reading he gets mad if he loses to Katina in checkers or something. Man if I was him, I would want/let Katina to beat me all the time :evil: at checkers ;)

Sorry, Zach.

You know what I mean!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

dolphinkee

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hey mdfinfan I work at worldcom yep i survived the cut
we should hook up for some of the fins games. haven't been this excited since the 70's
 

MDFINFAN

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Originally posted by dolphinkee
hey mdfinfan I work at worldcom yep i survived the cut
we should hook up for some of the fins games. haven't been this excited since the 70's

That sounds like a winner..email me at kkaigler@bna.com and we can exchange info and plan for the season.
 
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