With the switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense in the offseason, the Cleveland Browns will have to rely heavily on the defensive line to set the tone in training camp. In particular, newly appointed nose tackle Phil Taylor will have to step up his game in his third year in the NFL. The Browns will need him to be the anchor of the defense and a big producer on the defensive line if the team wants to be successful in 2013.
“I’ve really been pleased with what (Taylor) has done, both from just understanding what he is doing to a technique standpoint to setting a tempo and the pace,” head coach Rob Chudzinski said, according to ClevelandBrowns.com. “You will see him as the first guy in line down there in the drill work, all of the things you would ask him to do.”
In just two years in the league, Taylor has registered 73 total tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 24 games. After starting all 16 games his rookie season, he missed the first eight games last year with a torn pectoral muscle and was forced to spend time on the physically unable to perform list. With that being said, there is no question his production is off the charts when he is healthy.
The Browns see the 6’3”, 335-pound lineman as a run stopper who will take up space. His ability to get the attention of the opposing offensive lineman will allow Cleveland’s pass rushers to make plays. The good news is Taylor is also capable of getting to the quarterback, which is something he should still be able to do when the Browns let him loose.