“I’m coming in with a chip on my shoulder” has been said so many times by so many people that it must be the right thing to say.
New Dolphins cornerback Jamar Taylor put a different spin on it last Friday night, saying that he has the “Boise” chip, an acknowledgement that, despite how far the Boise State program has come, its players still may not receive the same national recognition as someone at a blueblood.
Taylor’s head coach at Boise State, Chris Petersen, recently called in to The Finsiders to talk about his former cornerback’s comeptitiveness and ability.
“Jamar, I’m sure in his mind – and we were thinking this, too – he’s a first-round type player. In a lot of ways, it’s a perfect storm that happened,” Petersen said. “I think the Dolphins got a really good player. Jamar’s got motivation to really prove that he belongs there and can do great things for the Dolphins.”
Say Taylor’s name to Petersen and the word that comes to mind is “professional.” Football may be a game for most college athletes, an end rather than a means to one. For Taylor, though, it was more like a job, and work didn’t end when the final whistle at practice blew. He was always in the coaches’ offices, Petersen said, watching game film, watching practice film, looking for ways to adjust to what would was being thrown at him. It got to the point that Taylor would bring in his lunch, sit down, and dig into the next batch of film.
“It was like clockwork. That was the world that always popped into my mind,” Petersen said. “This guy is a professional, and he’s still in college.”
That mentality helped Taylor, a redshirt senior, become a leader on an 11-2 Boise State team, finishing the 2012 season with 51 tackles, 2.5 sacks, nine pass breakups and four interceptions. He now heads to Miami, of course, where he figures to factor in prominently in what promises to be one of the more intriguing positional battles this summer.
Whoever earns playing time will be expected to get his hands on the ball — Dolphins cornerbacks only came away with three interceptions last year. If Kevin Coyle looks to try to generate some of extra pressure from the boundary, Taylor’s ability to play up at the line of scrimmage could potetnially bring some big-play punch.
“First and foremost, he can cover, and that’s what they’re bringing him back there to do,” Petersen said. “But he’s also a big physical guy. He’s really a weight room guy; he’s a really good tackler. We did blitz him a lot and he made a lot of plays doing that. That’s the thing that is nice about him is I think he gives you some flexibility.”
During Coyle’s first season as defensive coordinator, the Dolphins mixed in a lot of zone coverage, asking defensive backs to cover quadrants of the field before locking in on a particular receiver. Though they played a good amount of man at Boise, Petersen said, the skills are transferable. If anything, the versatile corner’s cover skills will be be asset, not a liability, allowing him to play on and off the ball.
“He’s such a student of the game that you’re going to be able to different things with him,” Petersen said. “If he hasn’t done it before, he’ll learn it – there’s no doubt about it.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.