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mesaSteeler
12-08-2009, 06:56 AM
Harris: Easy, unjust to blame Taylor for defensive woes
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_656672.html#
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This just in:

Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor is responsible for the spread of H1N1.

Sit him.

Taylor, everyone's favorite scapegoat around these parts, got caught with his hand in the cookie jar on two big pass plays during Sunday's 27-24 upset loss to the Oakland Raiders.

The Steelers scored a total of three points in three red-zone possessions in the first half against the Raiders and didn't get untracked until the fourth quarter.

It's Taylor's fault, of course.

When Mike Tomlin said during Monday's press conference that he was considering lineup changes in all three phases -- offense, defense and special teams -- guess whose name was presented to the third-year coach?

It's fashionable to blame Taylor, the highest-paid corner in franchise history and one of the team's most durable and productive players with 44 consecutive starts.

"People are going to say what they want to say, regardless of whether you do good or bad," Taylor said of media criticism. "That's what ya'll do. That's what ya'll get paid to do."

Inside linebacker and co-defensive captain James Farrior is one of Taylor's closest friends on the team. Farrior said the Steelers will rally around each other the way they always do, whereas lesser teams have pulled apart.

"People are going to try to break this team down, try to pick it apart. I feel like we've got a strong group. We'll stay together," Farrior said. "If you let somebody come in and break us up, you're not really what you thought you were."

Taylor, who would rather not speak with reporters following a win or a loss, has been answering more questions recently. He likely will answer more today, considering the secondary's role in Sunday's shocking loss and what transpired at Tomlin's press conference a day later.

Taylor was the guilty party on Louis Murphy's 75-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter, chasing Murphy from sideline-to-sideline despite the Steelers being in zone coverage.

Taylor was the only Steeler within 30 yards of Murphy. Where was the safety help?

Safties Tyrone Carter and Ryan Clark were late in coverage on a number of big pass plays during the Steelers' four-game losing streak, and it was more of the same against Oakland.

Quite a departure from last season, when the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII with the NFL's top-ranked defense that excelled against the pass.

In what has amounted to robbing Peter to pay Paul, the coaching staff has gone away from maximizing Taylor's strength this season.

After failing to re-sign Bryant McFadden and replacing him with William Gay, Taylor, who normally locks up the other team's best receiver, is playing less man-to-man and more Cover-2 as the coaching staff has attempted to protect the smaller and slower Gay.

But why, as Tomlin referenced yesterday regarding potential lineup changes, continue to go with something that's clearly not working? Why not play more man-to-man? It certainly beats the alternative of sticking with the (non) Cover-2.

"That's a tough route to defend, you know?" Taylor said of Murphy's long touchdown, all but adding, 'by myself.' "When a quarterback leads him like that, it's tough on a corner."

Could Taylor have done a better job of defending the jump ball that Murphy snagged for a 23-yard gain during Oakland's winning drive?

Of course Taylor should have knocked the ball away, but cornerback Deshea Townsend was there and he didn't make the play either.

Taylor, a former fourth-round draft pick who beat long odds to become a starter, was asked how long it would take him to let go of the Oakland loss.

"I don't know. That's a good question," he said. "Physically, we can all play corner. But mentally, if you're not strong, you're not going to last.

"I've just got to go out there and play ball."

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

SteelStang
12-08-2009, 08:00 AM
There is no way possible that Ike Taylor could have caused the spread of H1N1 for one simple reason. He never would have been able to catch it in the first place!!

Steelers>NFL
12-08-2009, 08:26 AM
There is no way possible that Ike Taylor could have caused the spread of H1N1 for one simple reason. He never would have been able to catch it in the first place!!

LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!! Good one...

Atranox
12-08-2009, 09:03 AM
When you've given up more completions that any other DB in the entire league, you're going to get blamed. And rightfully so. He might not be the worst player on our defense, but he's certainly not playing well.

BlastFurnace
12-08-2009, 10:28 AM
After failing to re-sign Bryant McFadden and replacing him with William Gay, Taylor, who normally locks up the other team's best receiver, is playing less man-to-man and more Cover-2 as the coaching staff has attempted to protect the smaller and slower Gay.

so it's all Gay's fault we stink on defense!

It baffles me that people have said that BMAC was not light years better than Gay was. If the coaches said it, it's because they either didn't want to tip off a weakness on defense to the opponents. If it's the fans saying it, it's because of sour grapes that he left.

My question is this....if Gay was so good last year, why did we spend 2 draft picks on CB's this year?

McFadden was a solid cover corner and tackler for us. We needed and should have found a way to keep him.

Gay is a nickel back and that is it.

Now the question is...why didn't they remove him earlier from the starting lineup? Why did it take 5 of the 6 bad losses to make this happen?

BlastFurnace
12-08-2009, 10:47 AM
I also think it's not fair to blame Ike. The cover 2 doesn't work without pressure, and we're not blitzing nearly enough these days.
With Troy out, the LBs are dropping into coverage, easing pressure on opposing QBs.
With Aaron Smith out, the DBs aren't reliably tackling. That forces the safeties up, leaving the corners exposed.
Ultimately the blame for this situation falls on Ray Horton, who has dropped the ball (pun sorta intended) on preparation and technique both at the line and deep.

I agree. Ike had a bad game, but I don't think it is fair to bench Ike either.

SteelStang
12-08-2009, 11:12 AM
Gay is a nickel back and that is it.

Couldn't agree more.

bradness113
12-08-2009, 11:25 AM
i wanna get a good look at joe burnett and keenan lewis. Lewis more than burnett. Lewis is a big strong corner, and was a beast in the preseason. solid at oregon state. I wanna see this kid play. as for burnett...hes small. but fast. I was devastated to see him drop that game winning int. that kinda took him off the radar for me lol...Get Lewis out there...lets see what this kid can do.
This game is huge for us. We have to win first off. secondly, we find out whos gunna start at CB for the rest of the year. Cuz we got some big games comin up. Especially, if we got Troy back. LETS GO.

fansince'76
12-08-2009, 06:08 PM
It baffles me that people have said that BMAC was not light years better than Gay was. If the coaches said it, it's because they either didn't want to tip off a weakness on defense to the opponents. If it's the fans saying it, it's because of sour grapes that he left.

My question is this....if Gay was so good last year, why did we spend 2 draft picks on CB's this year?

McFadden was a solid cover corner and tackler for us. We needed and should have found a way to keep him.

Gay is a nickel back and that is it.

Now the question is...why didn't they remove him earlier from the starting lineup? Why did it take 5 of the 6 bad losses to make this happen?

If BMac was so far and away superior to Gay in every respect, why did they split playing time last year? And why is he getting torched in AZ now?

MasterOfPuppets
12-08-2009, 06:54 PM
If BMac was so far and away superior to Gay in every respect, why did they split playing time last year? And why is he getting torched in AZ now?
yep....go over to an arizona board and try to convince them that mcfadden is a good CB..:chuckle:

markymarc
12-08-2009, 09:26 PM
Ike Taylor, William Gay, Ryan Clark and Tyronne Carter are all to blame for our bad secondary play. Ike isn't playing like our best CB and he deserves as much blame as the others for our defensive struggles. Time to see what we have in Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis.