There are few matchups on a football field more intriguing than a defensive end against a left tackle. From these battles, a level of respect develops and grows with each meeting.
Even though Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor and Buffalo Bills left tackle Jason Peters haven't played against each other much, they have established a mutual admiration society.
"He's coming hard and you're coming hard, just battling out there," Peters said. "You're bringing the best out of him and he's bringing the best out of you. And as time goes on, you just establish a bond with that guy. It's nothing but business on the field. But off the field, you might see him somewhere like a club or restaurant and you just want to show your respect for what he does and he has an appreciation for what you do."
Taylor has seen a lot of good left tackles. Peters has been playing the position only since the middle of last season, but Taylor calls Peters his toughest opponent.
"He's probably the best left tackle I face this year," Taylor said during a conference call with the Buffalo media this week. " . . . He's a big, athletic guy who is strong and moves very well. He's got the size. He does a lot of things well. You don't see him get beat a whole lot. He's equally as strong in the run game as he is in the pass game. I think he's a helluva player."
Peters has similar thoughts about Taylor, saying no defensive end gets him more motivated.
"Jason is a great player, a Hall of Fame player," Peters said. "He's so quick off the ball that if you make a false step he'll run right by you. I always feel like if I play well against him I can play against anybody in this league."
Taylor is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, recording 62 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, two interceptions (both returned for TDs), 11 passes defensed, 10 fumbles forced and two fumbles recovered.
His numbers are down this season (26 tackles, four sacks, one interception -- which he returned for a touchdown -- three forced fumbles and two recoveries). In Miami's 13-10 loss to the New York Giants two weeks ago, Taylor wasn't credited with a single tackle.
However, Peters expects nothing but Taylor's best effort Sunday in Miami. Peters probably will get some help blocking Taylor, but he'll get his chances to take him on one on one.
"I like that challenge," Peters said. "Jason Taylor is a great player and you want to test yourself against the best. They asked me again this year to block him one on one, so I'm going to take it as a challenge and look forward to it."
The Bills placed rookie tight end Derek Schouman on injured reserve Thursday with a severely sprained right ankle. Schouman was hurt during the Bills' win over Cincinnati.
"Long term, it's not going to be a serious thing," coach Dick Jauron said. "It's probably a lot like a high ankle sprain in terms of the length of recovery, so we're talking about six or seven weeks down the road somewhere."
Schouman, a seventh-round draft pick from Boise State, spent the first five games on the practice squad. He was added to the active roster before the Bills faced Baltimore. He contributed immediately as a blocker and showed potential as a receiver with three catches for 19 yards.
Schouman is the 10th Bills player to go on injured reserve this season.
Backup tight end Matt Murphy and defensive end Aaron Schobel were new additions to the injury report. Murphy was limited after injuring his left calf late in practice Thursday. He was walking with crutches in the locker room afterward and looks doubtful for Sunday. Schobel has been bothered by a sore thigh, though it should not prevent him from playing Sunday.
Middle linebacker John DiGiorgio was limited Thursday after practicing fully Wednesday. DiGiorgio suffered a concussion last Sunday, so the Bills are being careful with him.
Wide receiver Roscoe Parrish sat out another practice with a bruised thigh, but he has not been ruled out for Sunday. Cornerback Ashton Youboty and linebacker Leon Joe practiced fully and may be ready to return.