Judging from his performances with the Miami Hurricanes, it was fairly obvious that safety Sean Taylor was going to be something special in the NFL.
But jeez, this is ridiculous.
After settling on an agent, signing a contract, reporting to camp and surviving an early knee injury, Taylor has done nothing but stun teammates and coaches with big play after big play.
Let's not be too surprised. This is how Taylor played in college and it stands to reason he'll do the same for the Redskins.
In his first game he had two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. In his third preseason game Taylor was in on the opening tackle, had three solo stops, then forced and recovered a fumble to end the Dolphins' first drive.
"Each step of this is just working, making progress," said Taylor after the 17-0 victory over Miami. "That's what I'm doing right now, working on stepping in the right direction."
You can almost hear coach Joe Gibbs sighing, especially considering the Redskins missed on three of their past five top-five picks, receiver Desmond Howard (fourth, 1992), quarterback Heath Shuler (third, 1994) and receiver Michael Westbrook (fourth, 1995).
"Sean still needs to take some more steps ... but it's nice to see he thinks he's going to make a play every time he's out there," defensive coordinator Gregg Williamssaid.
SAY WHAT?: Commonly, running backs complain about not getting enough touches, but after a busy preseason night, Washington's Clinton Portis offered this: "Coach Gibbs thinks I'm a machine. The running game happened to be going, but seven carries in a row. You get pretty tired."
Is it a sign of Gibbs' philosophy?
"His tongue's going to be hanging out. Let's put it that way," Gibbs said.
DOUBLE DUTY: Granted, cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Champ Bailey have been in the spotlight recently for playing on the other side of the ball, but the picture of Patriots receiver Troy Brown playing defensive back is going to take some getting used to.
The 12-year veteran has seen time with the first unit as a fifth defensive back during the preseason, with specific duties of handling the slot receiver.
"Troy does a great job over there," quarterback Tom Brady told the Boston Globe. "He knows our offensive plays, which has probably helped him out a little bit. It's been fun watching him run around the last couple of games."
Of course, Brady is touting the party line. He let his real feelings about the experiment surface a little later.
"I want to see him on offense full time, to tell you the truth," Brady said. "It just wears on his legs playing defense. I don't need to help the defense out, I want my weapons on offense fresh. But I don't make the decisions so it really doesn't matter what I think."
JUST CAN WAIT TO BE KING: The Bears have always been considered royalty in Chicago and now they actually have some blue blood in the locker room.
Newly acquired defensive end Adewale Ogunleyecomes from royal Nigerian bloodlines. His uncle is king of Emure, a small city 21/2 hours from Lagos. Ogunleye knows firsthand what it's like to be treated like royalty after having people bow at his feet when he first visited the city as a 13-year-old. He is first in line to succeed the king, should he return to Nigeria.
"Right now, the economy in Nigeria is such that 25 cows is considered having a lot," Ogunleye told the Chicago Tribune. "Well, 25 cows doesn't do anything for me, so I think I'll be in Chicago awhile."
PROPS TO SIMS: Let's get this straight: The Raiders drafted left tackle Robert Gallery with the No. 2 overall pick and signed him to a seven-year, $60-million deal and gave him $18.5-million in guaranteed money? Just checking.
Well, as it turns out, Gallery could not beat out veteran Barry Sims, who will start the opener at left tackle. For now, the Raiders are experimenting with Gallery at the left guard slot.
"We'll see where we're at," coach Norv Turner said. "It may be a (temporary) deal. It may be longer. Long-term, there's no question Robert's going to be a big-time left tackle in this league."
But show some love to Sims. All he has done is beat out three left tackles taken by the Raiders in the first round: Gallery, Mo Collins (1998) and Matt Stinchcomb (1999).
"That was my goal all along ... hold down my spot," Sims said. "I'm not really surprised by it."
REALITY CHECK: Remember former Gators tight end Ben Troupe, a can't-miss prospect some said was in the same class as Kellen Winslow? The second-round pick (40th overall) is so far down the Titans depth chart that he's likely to be an inactive player when the season opens. He's even being outplayed by second-year man Dwayne Blakely, who played for the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe.