View Full Version : Steelers Notebook: It's Taylor vs. Bailey, but not on field

11-04-2006, 09:18 AM
Steelers Notebook: It's Taylor vs. Bailey, but not on field
Saturday, November 04, 2006

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ike Taylor followed Randy Moss all over the field in Oakland, holding him to two catches for 20 yards. Tomorrow, he is expected to follow wide receiver Javon Walker when the Steelers play the Denver Broncos at Heinz Field.

But Taylor, a fourth-year cornerback who leads the team with eight passes defenses, also is aware of another matchup, even though it won't take place directly on the field.

The Broncos have perhaps the NFL's best cornerback -- Champ Bailey, who has been to six consecutive Pro Bowls. Taylor would like to be mentioned in the same breath as Bailey, who has 13 interceptions since the start of the 2005 season, more than any other player in the league.

"I always think that way," Taylor said. "They say someone is the best, you want to prove you're one of the best, too."

Taylor and the secondary will be coming off a game in which they held Oakland to five completions and 51 yards passing, the third-lowest total in Raiders history. But it will be a different story against the Broncos.

Jake Plummer, who had four turnovers in the AFC title game last season, had his best game this season against the Indianapolis Colts last week. And Walker, acquired in a draft-day trade from the Green Bay Packers, gives the Broncos another threat to package with veteran receiver Rod Smith.

Walker leads the team with 33 catches, 535 yards and three touchdowns.

"He's a threat because he can do it all," Taylor said. "You need short-yardage, say third-and-3, he has the body to match the short catch.

You need a long one, he's the guy they'll go to."

Staley remains idle

Running back Duce Staley will be inactive for the game against the Broncos tomorrow, meaning running back/fullback John Kuhn will be the extra running back. That means Najeh Davenport will handle the third-down role vacated by Verron Haynes, who had a season-ending knee injury in Oakland.

"Part of football," Davenport said of his role. "Picking up the blitz, that's the most important thing."

Staley has been active for only one game this season -- the season opener against Miami -- and appeared only sparingly in the final minutes. Kuhn was signed earlier this week from the practice squad.

Hear them Bells

Broncos running back Tatum Bell (probable), who had three 100-yard rushing performances in the first six games, has been bothered by turf toes on both feet and could be rotated with rookie Mike Bell.

Mike Bell rushed for 136 yards on 15 carries in Denver's 34-31 loss Sunday to the Indianapolis Colts, with all but 1 yard coming in the second half. He came into the game when Tatum Bell began to have problems.

"It's a crazy league," Mike Bell said. "You just have to adjust to what happens each game."

Almost-cover jinx

Just days after the Denver defense was featured in Sports Illustrated for allowing 44 points in its first six games, the Broncos turned around and allowed 34 points to the Colts.

It was the most points they had surrendered since the AFC championship loss to the Steelers.

The Broncos' defense wasn't featured on the magazine cover, but apparently the jinx knows no boundary.

Morgan update

Former Steelers wide receiver Quincy Morgan, signed by the Broncos Sept. 18, has not caught a pass for his new team. But he has returned five kickoffs for 89 yards, with a long return of 23 yards. Morgan, though, was inactive against the Colts last week.


11-04-2006, 09:29 AM
Steelers notebook

By Mike Prisuta
Saturday, November 4, 2006

• Kendall Simmons started the first four games of the season at right guard, missed the Steelers' 45-7 win over Kansas City on Oct. 15. He split time with Chris Kemoeatu during the Steelers' 41-38 overtime loss Oct. 22 in Atlanta (foot) and sat out last Sunday's 20-13 loss in Oakland. Simmons is prepared for any eventuality regarding his seemingly ever-changing role heading into this Sunday's game against Denver. "I know what I'm capable of," Simmons said. "The rest of it I'm not going to worry about. It's been that way the last couple of weeks. I'm fine with it. I'm going to let them (the coaching staff) do their thing and decide what they want to do and keep playing the way I know I can play." Kemoeatu, who started against the Chiefs and Raiders, said scout team work in practice doesn't preclude him from being prepared for a potential starting assignment. "When we're doing scout (team), we block everything how we do it, so we're taking reps, too. It's almost the same thing. We're doing the same plays, blocking it the same way."

• For the Steelers, linebacker James Harrison (ankle), center Jeff Hartings (knee), safety Mike Logan (hamstring) and wide receiver Willie Reid (foot) are out, and linebacker Larry Foote (shoulder), linebacker Clark Haggans (ankle), nose tackle Casey Hampton (hamstring), wide receiver Santonio Holmes (shoulder), Kemoeatu (ankle), fullback Dan Kreider (ankle), wide receiver Sean Morey (toe), safety Troy Polamalu (foot), cornerback Deshea Townsend (quadriceps) and wide receiver Cedrick Wilson (groin) are probable. Hartings, Foote, Haggans, Hampton, Kreider, Polamalu, Townsend and Wilson are starters.

• For the Broncos, cornerback Champ Bailey (ankle), running back Tatum Bell (toe), running back Cedric Cobbs (ankle), linebacker Ian Gold (hamstring), fullback Kyle Johnson (ankle), guard/center Chris Myers (shoulder), tight end Tony Scheffler (hip), defensive tackle Gerard Warren (toe), linebacker D.J. Williams (foot) and linebacker Al Wilson (thumb) are probable. Bailey, Bell, Gold, Johnson, Warren, Williams and Wilson are starters.


2 -- AFC Championship games contested by the Steelers and Broncos in the teams' past three meetings.