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Old 08-29-2008, 03:57 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' Taylor eyes Hawaii

Steelers' Taylor eyes Hawaii
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, August 29, 2008

Ike Taylor wants to travel "across the water" and become the first Steelers cornerback to reach the Pro Bowl since Rod Woodson in 1997.

The Steelers have a long tradition of elite cornerbacks, dating to Hall of Famer Mel Blount.

Taylor realizes he has big shoes to fill.

"Rod Woodson went to the Pro Bowl as a returner, cornerback, safety," Taylor said. "Mel Blount changed the game. They put in the five-yard rule (because of Blount). Everybody knows them.

"It's about that time (for me). I just want to be one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL."

Taylor, 28, is entering his fourth season as a starter. His role is expanding this season as coach Mike Tomlin plans on moving him to right cornerback to better utilize his one-on-one coverage skills.

Most of the NFL's elite receivers now line up opposite the right cornerback. Some of the receivers Taylor will be matched against this season include Andre Johnson (Texans), Braylon Edwards (Browns), Chad Johnson (Bengals), Plaxico Burress (Giants), Reggie Wayne (Colts), Randy Moss (Patriots) and Terrell Owens (Cowboys).

Taylor knows he won't receive a better opportunity to prove he belongs among the league's top cornerbacks.

"I've talked about going across the water (to Hawaii) for the longest (time). It's to the point where something's got to change. That's just how I feel," said Taylor, who led the Steelers in interceptions and was second on the team in tackles and passes defensed in 2007.

"People say, 'Ike can be that lock-down corner, but ... there's always a but. I get tired of hearing those buts."

Taylor knows the only way to silence his critics is to pad his interception total.

Taylor has seven career interceptions but admits he should have more.

Earlier in his career, Taylor may have thought too much about his assignments. Over time, the game has slowed down for Taylor, allowing him to utilize his talent.

"I want to get a feel for the game and analyze what (opponents) are doing early," Taylor said.

Taylor always had the physical skills. He ran a 4.24 in the 40-yard dash this summer while training at Walt Disney's Wide World of Sports - a time that would make him the fastest player on the Steelers, not to mention one of the fastest in the NFL.

To put Taylor's performance in perspective, Tennessee rookie Chris Johnson clocked a 4.24 at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, the fastest time in combine history.

Now-retired Deion Sanders ran a 4.27 at the combine. Woodson was right behind Sanders at 4.28.

Taylor, a fourth-round draft pick in 2003 who wasn't invited to the combine, posted his mind-numbing time this summer following a dare.

"When he got out to the track, some of the guys were talking smack," said Tom Shaw, the speed and conditioning coach at Walt Disney's Wide World of Sports.

"(Minnesota Vikings safety) Darren Sharper told him he couldn't run a 4.3 without warming up. Ike didn't stretch, didn't do anything. He just got out there and ended up cruising to a 4.24."

Taylor was able to transfer the running skills he perfected in Florida to the football field. His daily battles against Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes were the talk of training camp.

One of the tallest cornerbacks in the league at 6-foot-2 and weighing 195 pounds, Taylor helped Holmes perfect ways to escape the jam at the line of scrimmage.

Conversely, Taylor concentrated on keeping up with the elusive Holmes.

"He's stronger, he's faster, and he's worked on his hands like crazy," Taylor said. "I don't think anybody can take him one on one."

Taylor was being modest. He gave as good as he got against Holmes. The rest of the NFL should take note.
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_584585.html
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' Taylor eyes Hawaii

It would be great to see him have a pro bowl year if he can improve on catching he will be ok he has the speed and the ability.
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:07 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' Taylor eyes Hawaii

I'd like for every player to eye for Tampa, but it's never bad to have some personal expectations

Ike can certainly do it if he catches at least half of what he usually drops
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:13 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' Taylor eyes Hawaii

Quote:
Earlier in his career, Taylor may have thought too much about his assignments. Over time, the game has slowed down for Taylor, allowing him to utilize his talent.
Professional athletes transition (both mentally & physically) at different rates. He certainly has the physicalities and perhaps his time is now. If he grabs some interceptions and avoids the mental mistakes, he could indeed be Pro Bowl bound imo.
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' Taylor eyes Hawaii

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Duke View Post
I'd like for every player to eye for Tampa, but it's never bad to have some personal expectations

Ike can certainly do it if he catches at least half of what he usually drops
You got to it before I did. To hell with Hawaii - Tampa's got the goods this year. Another Ring or Pro Bowl? Let me think - someone ask Carson what he would rather have!
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Old 08-29-2008, 11:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' Taylor eyes Hawaii

Guys, if he's good enough to get voted into the Pro Bowl with the likes of Champ Bailey and Antonio Cromartie, then he's going to be instrumental in helping the Steelers get to Tampa for the Super Bowl.

Remember, to get to and win the Super Bowl it takes all 53 players on the roster. Not just one player.

Not to mention I think every player's goal every year is to win the Super Bowl, but they also have more personal goals such as make the Pro Bowl.

Also, I already think Ike Taylor is a lock down cornerback, no buts. Interceptions is an overrated statistic. I'd rather have a corner like Ike Taylor that'll shut down the opposing team's wideout on a weekly basis than a guy who'll get a good amount of picks but also give up a good amount of big plays (Dealtha O'Niel of the Bengals in 2005).
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