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USAT, about Sean & Laron: "Our All-Pros have a 'Frankenstein' feel"

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"• Safeties — Sean Taylor, LaRon Landry, Washington Redskins: We'll never know how truly great this pairing could have been.

Taylor's death after a shooting during a botched robbery at his Florida home in November stole him from his family and the football world. He was an exceptional talent with a ferocity on the field that he had only begun to control. His potential was immense. Landry, a rookie, played with a similar mentality. Taylor was the fifth overall pick in the 2004 draft, Landry the sixth overall last April. Most teams don't invest that heavily in safeties and prefer to build their defenses from the line back.

But the Redskins have their own ideas about a lot of things. This was one of them, and there's no telling what kind of special formula they might have produced. Taylor and Landry were a special combination for half a season."

By Larry Weisman,

Full Article

I would simply say it would have been the most feared and devastating safeties duo to ever play the game.

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It would have been a pleasure watching Taylor and Landry anchor the back side of the defense for years to come. They could have been one of the best NFL safety tandems ever.

I don't think it was by design that the Skins drafted two safeties so high, but happenstance instead. The Redskins rightly followed the philosophy of drafting the best player available with the high pick, and Taylor and Landry was the result. Or do some of you think this was a definite strategy?

Taylor's death was a tragedy in so many ways. In the minor football scheme of things, we're denied seeing potentially the best safety tandem ever.

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It does seem small in the grand scheme of things but we are all football fans here. They would have been such a force, you could already see glimpses of the geling process between the two.

It's big when a defense can take away something from the offense and those guys would have had receivers scared to go across the middle and the closing speed would have made them a threat for double digit picks (combined).

I didn't think about it until now and I guess there are too many variables to calculate but if Sean were still here and Joe Gibbs had still stepped down, would the threat and promise of such a tandem and their support of GW, would Williams have had a better shot at being the head coach?

Pure speculation and probably BS but just a thought.

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The tragic death of Sean left me in a state of mourning, not unlike a friend had passed (despite only having a brief conversation with him last August). I've not allowed myself to think too much about the X's and O's aspect of his death.

The fact is, when a team loses a guy, it hurts. To lose a Pro Bowl starter, a probable future HOF'er, and the best, most talented player on the team, how can you replace that? A fifth overall selection in the first round, and arguably the most physically talented of any position?

You just can't. This is the kind of devastating loss that sets your franchise back a notch or two.

The positive news? LaRon grew immensely at the end of the season, particularly in the Seattle playoff game. He must've felt like he was on an island back there, trying to fill shoes the size of Texas. He performed admirably, and I think he'll continue to do so. And maybe, Blache will get more to work with on the line this year to take some pressure off of our secondary.

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The tragic death of Sean left me in a state of mourning, not unlike a friend had passed (despite only having a brief conversation with him last August). I've not allowed myself to think too much about the X's and O's aspect of his death.

The fact is, when a team loses a guy, it hurts. To lose a Pro Bowl starter, a probable future HOF'er, and the best, most talented player on the team, how can you replace that? A fifth overall selection in the first round, and arguably the most physically talented of any position?

You just can't. This is the kind of devastating loss that sets your franchise back a notch or two.

The positive news? LaRon grew immensely at the end of the season, particularly in the Seattle playoff game. He must've felt like he was on an island back there, trying to fill shoes the size of Texas. He performed admirably, and I think he'll continue to do so. And maybe, Blache will get more to work with on the line this year to take some pressure off of our secondary.

Agree 100% here TLC. Most teams never have to deal with the setback of losing a top 5 pick to a gunshot wound. Purely from a football standpoint, losing Taylor was a huge loss to this team that arguably lost its best weapon on defense, a guy who was an absolute game changer and freakish athlete for his position. Had Taylor not been killed, I'm farily confident that the duo of LaRon and Sean would've been the stuff football legends are made of.

But yes, to put a positive spin on it LaRon played his heart out when he was put into the FS spot, and it would be wise to just let him stay there so he can grow. If Blache can build a defensive line that creates intense pressure, we'll see LaRon grow into an All-Pro, and maybe even become what we hoped Taylor would be.

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']Fakeman and I were discussing this the other day.

They would have been the best safety combination in the history of the NFL' date=' plain and simple.[/quote']

I have an impossible time trying to argue against that. We'll never know but I have to think based on what we saw from Landry this year and what we already knew about ST that they truly would have been.

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Again, do you think the Redskins drafted two safeties so high as a specific strategy, as Larry Weisman seems to suggest? Or was it more just happenstance that safeties were the best players available on draft day when it was the Redskins' turn to pick.

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Again, do you think the Redskins drafted two safeties so high as a specific strategy, as Larry Weisman seems to suggest? Or was it more just happenstance that safeties were the best players available on draft day when it was the Redskins' turn to pick.

With Sean, I think Gibbs and Williams pretty much fell in love with the idea of drafting a player as physical and with as much spirit as Sean did. They knew he was a rare breed of football player, and knew that he had the potential to be special. There were many pro-bowlers that went after Sean, but I think the Sean pick was in terms of strategy since Williams loved the idea of having a shark like Sean in his secondary.

LaRon I think is a bit of a different story. After the Archuleta debacle, Williams needed a new SS to pair with Sean, and with our lack of draft picks and the SS position being our biggest hole, LaRon just happened to be the BPA at our spot and they went with him. When trying to justify taking a third defensive back in the top-10, Gregg looked at the idea of pairing a hard-hitting safety like LaRon, who was so similar to Sean in playing style, and the strategic value made LaRon a no brianer.

Had we not traded away all of our picks in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds, it's possible we would've gone after a guy like Jamal Anderson to develop and become our LDE, while we would gone on to draft another safety in the later rounds. However, our lack of draft picks, combined with the glaring hole at SS ended up making LaRon a BPA/need pick. While Sean was more of a luxary/strategy.

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I don;t think our mentality was to build from the safeties up... I think we just happened to be in a position where we could get the best defensive player in the draft. In Sean's case, he may have been the best PLAYER in his draft.

Any other safety we pass on each time, but these two were players that any team would be lucky to have either. And we were fortunate enough to have both... albeit for a season...

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LaRon I think is a bit of a different story. After the Archuleta debacle, Williams needed a new SS to pair with Sean, and with our lack of draft picks and the SS position being our biggest hole, LaRon just happened to be the BPA at our spot and they went with him. When trying to justify taking a third defensive back in the top-10, Gregg looked at the idea of pairing a hard-hitting safety like LaRon, who was so similar to Sean in playing style, and the strategic value made LaRon a no brianer.

So you think the Archuletta fiasco played a large role in the decision to choose Landry? I'm trying to think who else we were considering with that pick at the time...

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Again, do you think the Redskins drafted two safeties so high as a specific strategy, as Larry Weisman seems to suggest? Or was it more just happenstance that safeties were the best players available on draft day when it was the Redskins' turn to pick.

you hit the nail on the head. I thought the same thing as my post below suggests...

:cheers:

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So you think the Archuletta fiasco played a large role in the decision to choose Landry? I'm trying to think who else we were considering with that pick at the time...

It came down to Jamaal Anderson, Amobi Okoye, and Laron...

Okoye shined last season, but we;ve got Montgomery and Golston and Griffin, Laron fit perfectly... Anderson may be better down the road, but I firmly belive Laron had the better season...

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Taylor's death was like that of a great artist or musician dieing before their time... so many dazzling plays we'll never get to witness.

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So you think the Archuletta fiasco played a large role in the decision to choose Landry? I'm trying to think who else we were considering with that pick at the time...

Honestly I really think it did. What Williams was trying to make Archuleta into was a hard hitting strong safety who could cover as well. I think Williams' problem with Ryan Clark was the fact that while Clark could cover quite well, he wasn't physical enough or big enough to be that in the box SS that Williams wanted.

When it became apparent that Archuleta wasn't the answer and we traded him, we had an immediate hole and need that could've been possibly been filled by a second or third rounder. Due to the fact we didn't have one at the time, when we were possibly looking at other guys like Jamal Anderson in the '07 draft, LaRon just so happened to be at our pick, and the guy who could fill the large void left by Archuleta and Clark's departure, whereas we had the luxary of skipping the DE choice for another year with Daniels , Evans and Carter returning, along with the youth injection of Chris Wilson.

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Its just devastating to think about how dominating they would have been together. I mean, who in their right mind would throw or dare catch anything over the middle? Can you imagine a double saftey blitz? The QB would crap his pants.

Aside from losing a great man/son/father, it hurst immensely to lose one of the best safties to play the game. I do believe LaRon will blossom into what Sean was becoming, and that is a mult-year pro bowl saftey. Its just tragic we couldn't see Area 51 become truely great together.

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']Fakeman and I were discussing this the other day.

They would have been the best safety combination in the history of the NFL' date=' plain and simple.[/quote']

:laugh::laugh:

Wishful thinking though.

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:laugh::laugh:

Wishful thinking though.

Why is this prospect funny, out of curiosity?

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:laugh::laugh:

Wishful thinking though.

I think it was an honest assesment. Two of the best playing side by side, 24 and 22 years old...

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Football is a game of matchups, it’s not necessarily one team being better than another team, its how do your components match up against your opposition’s components?

Perfect example – NE vs. NYG; New England was the best team in the league this year (all cheating aside), BUT the Giants matched up really well against them.

I think the combination of Taylor and Laron would have been a bit like the Giants ability to pass rush. The Giants just have too many good pass rushers for a team to be able to consistently drop back and pass against them (which is what the Pats tried to do), if they are playing well, they force you to be balanced or your QB gets murdered.

Taylor and Landry both playing up to potential would have caused similar mismatches – forcing teams to change their schemes to adapt. I think the Skins could have adopted the Nickel as their base defense with Taylor, Landry, and 3 DBs making it very difficult for teams to have beat us through the air. In addition, when you have 2 safeties who can hit like LBers (or pretty darn close) we could have still contained the ground game in a Nickel formation, which is the fundamental reason why teams don’t use it as a base defense.

The whole situation is really a shame on so many levels. The personal issues that were so prominent early on in the grieving process will fade for most people (close family and friends excluded of course) and the rest of us will be left wondering what could have been. Not only was Sean a GREAT football player, but he was the most entertaining football player on the team. Not because of his off the field antics, but because of his intensity and freakishly athletic plays. In that long run, that will be what I miss the most – a guy who made football worth watching.

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