ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Phil Taylor is out for the season after tearing his left quadriceps tendon, leaving the Washington Redskins with a big void to fill on the defensive line.
Coach Jay Gruden said the veteran nose tackle, who was injured Sunday in the third preseason game , will have surgery on Wednesday. The season-ending injury is a blow to Taylor after he worked to get his career back on track following a series of injuries and was in line to start Week 1.
“I feel terrible for Phil because he did a great job at getting himself ready to play,” Gruden said Tuesday. “He’s in excellent shape, but it’s just an unfortunate injury. The rest of the guys have got to step up.”
Those players include Ziggy Hood, Joey Mbu, A.J. Francis and free agent additions Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee on a defensive line that has been prepared to play different positions. Rookie Jonathan Allen and second-year linemen Anthony Lanier and Matt Ioannidis could also fill in.
“We have a lot of guys that can play a lot of spots,” Francis said. “All of us can play everywhere on the D-line. The good thing about it is because of that it’s hard for offenses because they never truly know what they’re going to get.”
That’s by design because defensive line coach Jim Tomsula wants every lineman to know how to play end or inside. Even after missing the past two seasons with knee injuries, Taylor had stood out in the crowd at training camp in the preseason and looked to be the kind of difference-maker Washington’s defense was looking for at nose tackle.
A 2011 first-round pick of the Browns, Taylor contemplated retirement before the Redskins took a chance on him regaining his past form and signed him to a one-year-contract. A chest injury cost him half of the 2012 season and then the knee problems kept him off the field since his last NFL regular-season game in November 2014.
Following the injury and MRI that revealed the tear, Hood sent Taylor some words of encouragement to keep the well-respected 29-year-old’s spirits up.
“He’s still got a lot of football left, and (I told him) don’t give up pretty much and get back healthy and get back to it,” Hood said. “To go through two different injuries that put you down for two seasons and then you got this horror you got to go through, it’s pretty tough.”
Even though cut-down day Saturday will flood the market with players, Gruden feels good about the Redskins’ depth on the defensive line. The group doesn’t have any household names, but Mbu brings quickness inside, Francis some more strength and physicality and Hood a fundamentally sound player who’s used to the position.
“It’s good because guys get a lot of opportunities to show what they can do at different spots,” Francis said. “I think a lot of us are capable of contributing not only a couple tackles here and there but (tackles for loss), sacks, pressure up the middle — the things you need from a D-line in this system.”
NOTES: Gruden said third QB Nate Sudfeld will play the entire fourth preseason game Thursday at Tampa Bay. … Most starters will be held out of the Buccaneers game, including LB Junior Galette, who only saw limited preseason action because of a hamstring injury. Gruden said WR Josh Doctson, who has been out off and on with hamstring soreness, wants to play but maintained he’ll make the decision closer to game time.
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