Jason Taylor to Washington (and What It Means To The NFC East)

Jonathan CaulkCorrespondent IJuly 23, 2008

On Sunday evening, Jul. 20 the Redskins traded for defensive end Jason Taylor of the Miami Dolphins in exchange for second and sixth round draft picks in 2009. With the aid of Dan Snyder’s personal aircraft, Vinnie Cerrato (director of personnel) executed the patented front-office blitzkrieg action of the Redskins when pursuing a key player.

They reeled in this prize Dolphin catch before Tom Coughin could say “Where’s Strahan?” (It was widely speculated that the Giants would attempt to sign Taylor in light of Strahan’s retirement).

This move simultaneously filled a hole in the defensive line created by the season ending injury to Phillip Daniels while placing a perennial Pro Bowler opposite of the talented right end Andre Carter, who posted 10.5 sacks last season.

In Super Bowl XLII, the football world witnessed how an effective pass rush can smother even a record breaking Tom Brady- led offense. If they remain healthy throughout the season, the Redskin pass rush will be a force that could carry them just that far.

On Jul. 21, the New Orleans Saints made their own move to improve their offense by trading for the Giants disgruntled tight end Jeremy Shockey. They gave up second and fourth round picks in the 2009 draft, a hefty price for an aging and oft injured tight end.

At best Shockey will get the Saints a first down or two per game. There is no question the Redskins pulled off the better of these two deals; Jason Taylor is a game changing force on the defensive side of the ball.

Jeremy Shockey is a loud-mouth with a tendency to drop easy passes. For critics of the Redskins who have bad mouthed Dan Snyder and Vinnie Cerrato for overpaying players, you may kindly give it a rest. Even bitter old Redskins-hater Len Pasquarelli  (ESPN columnist) couldn't summon up a negative angle on the Taylor deal.

Taylor is the only notable Redskins acquisition this season and no one can dispute that it was a move made out necessity and prudence. This team is stocked with talent and Taylor is a missing piece that may put them over the top in the NFC East.

Soon it will be time to find out what a Redskins pass rush led by two double-digit sack machines can do to NFC East quarterbacks. They will be chasing a hobbling Donovan McNabb, renowned choke artist Tony Romo, and turnover prone Eli Manning.

McNabb is the only viable threat but his knees and shoulders are certainly not what they used to be. Looking back on their performances against the Redskins in the 2007 season it’s apparent that Eli Manning (57.9 quarterback rating) was ineffective, and Tony Romo was only pedestrian (79.5 quarterbacks rating).

Those two will be easy prey for Redskins pass rushers.

To summarize, the Redskins are now the proud owners of a fearsome defensive line and as for the New Orleans Saints acquisition of Jeremy Shockey? Well he’s a NEWS MAKER, not a PLAY MAKER!