Miami Dolphins have a proud tradition of fine offensive line play. Hall of
Famers like Dwight Stephenson, Jim Langer, and Larry Little represent the best
of the interior line. Others, such as G Bob Kuechenberg and LT Richmond Webb,
are worthy of joining this exclusive club.
is widely regarded as the best left tackle in team history. Earning seven
consecutive Pro Bowl berths and a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the
90s, he was Dan Marino’s blindside protector for ten years.
Long continues this tradition of excellence today. A Pro Bowler at left tackle in
just his rookie season, Long distinguished himself against some of the best
front seven players the NFL has to offer.
man in NFL history, perhaps the only one, who has faced both Webb and Long, is Jason
déjà vu. Back in 1997, as a rookie defensive end from little known Akron
University, the first of four third round picks (73rd overall), the undersized Taylor
had the unenviable task of matching up against Webb. For JT, it was the school
of hard knocks as the accomplished veteran schooled the raw rookie on a daily
basis. This continued for the next four seasons before Webb left the Dolphins. There’s
little doubt those early contests, hundreds of collisions worth, helped Taylor’s early
forwarding to 2009, Taylor
is back with the Dolphins after a forgettable season with the Washington
Redskins. The roles are reversed from those late 90s contests. Now it’s Taylor,
the greatest defender in team history and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year
in 2006, schooling the younger player. As Darth Vader might say, “The circle is
now complete. When I left you I was but the learner. Now I am the master."
training camp began, the master has been going up against the learner. The
battles have been fun to watch, a strength-on-strength affair when Taylor is matched up with
Long. No doubt it is Long who is benefitting the most from facing the
I’ve been fascinated by this strange twist of fate. So I asked Taylor to share his thoughts with us on
facing Long and how it compares to the times he faced Webb.
I first came in, Richmond was a veteran and one
of the best at the position”, reflected Taylor.
“He obviously taught me a lot against him, and having to lose rushes to him
everyday taught me how to rush the passer.”
has all the tools to be as good as Richmond
or better. He is still young, but you can definitely see he has the
temperament, the ability and the mindset. Jake is going to be a great player in
the league for a long time.”