Rex Ryan wants more Jason Taylor

Updated: December 10, 2010, 11:38 AM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- If Jason Taylor seemed invisible in the Monday night massacre, it's because he barely played -- only 15 out of 58 defensive plays in the 45-3 loss to the New England Patriots.

Afterward, the New York Jets' sack leader discussed it privately with his coaches, and on Thursday head coach Rex Ryan came out publicly, admitting they goofed.

"I'm not happy with how we used him this week," Ryan said, adding that he will "strongly suggest" to his assistants that Taylor receive more playing time Sunday against his former team, the Miami Dolphins.

The Jets coaches insisted they're happy with Taylor, yet his role has shrunk in recent weeks. Taylor, 36, said he's not upset, but he'd like to play more because "the more snaps I get, the better I play. I've always been that kind of player, that gets into a rhythm and a groove." But he doesn't want to make a stink, because the team is 9-3.

Taylor's playing time also was cut late last season in Miami, fueling speculation the Dolphins didn't want to use him on third downs because of a substantial incentive bonus for sacks. He fell short of the bonus, ending with seven sacks.

Once again, Taylor has additional money tied to his sack total -- currently, four. If he finishes with fewer than seven sacks, a $750,000 guarantee for 2011 is voided. The guarantee increases to $1.25 million with 10 sacks and $2 million with 12. He was noncommittal on whether he wants to play next season.

Taylor dismissed the notion the Jets might be trying to save money by cutting his playing time.

"No, I don't think that has anything to do with it," he said. "I don't think [GM] Mike [Tannenbaum] and Rex and this organization are those kinds of guys. I'm trying to win ballgames. Money is a good byproduct of that, but it's not why I play the game. I play to win, and we've got nine wins out of 12 games. I'm happy with that. As long as we're winning, I'm happy."

It wouldn't make sense to nickel-and-dime Taylor, considering the state of the Jets' pass rush. So why is his playing time shrinking? Ryan said the season-ending injury to safety Jim Leonhard, who broke his right leg Friday in practice, forced the coaching staff to make last-minute changes to their personnel groupings.

"This guy is a great football player and we need to use him more," Ryan said. "I think I was more disappointed in the plan of attack that we had. Obviously, things changed when we had Jim out, but he has to get more involved. The guy makes plays. That's all I see."

Taylor has four sacks, two forced fumbles and four tipped passes, much of that production coming when he started for the injured Calvin Pace in the first four weeks. Overall, his numbers are decent, but shy of what the Jets had in mind when they signed him as a free agent.

Four weeks ago, the coaches stopped rotating him with fellow outside linebackers Pace and Bryan Thomas in the base because they didn't want to disrupt the chemistry, according to defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Look for plenty of Taylor against the Dolphins, his team for 12 seasons.

"Miami week is a big week for him, and I know he's amped up and ready to go," Pettine said, adding, "[He] has graded out well, not necessarily on the stat sheet, but he's done his job. It merits more playing time."

Chances are, Taylor will be a one-and-done player for the Jets, the only team that showed any significant interest in him. He admitted that he's not sure about 2011.

"I have no intention, as we stand here now, to hang it up, but there's a lot of uncertainty, a lot of things that could factor into that," the probable Hall of Famer said. "[There's] labor peace -- or lack thereof. You also need a team that wants to pay you and play you. There's a lot up in the air."

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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