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Old 01-22-2009, 06:45 PM   #1
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Default ike is ready for fitz

http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/story?i...s&confirm=true

Super Bowl News
Posted about 4 hours ago17 Comments 1 Recommendation E-mail
Ike likes it: Steelers CB Taylor anticipating matchup with Fitzgerald
By Thomas George | NFL.com
Senior Columnist

Ike Taylor listens more than he talks. So, this tough-skinned, New Orleans-bred cornerback with a durable mind and muscular identity noticed when Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald the "best in the world" in downfield, one-on-one situations.

Taylor and Fitzgerald will bop next week in Super Bowl XLIII.

Taylor, like his coach, salutes Fitzgerald's game. But Taylor also recognizes the fight in his own.

Steelers CB Ike Taylor is facing a tough assignment -- covering Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald in Super Bowl XLIII -- but he's confident that it will be "a good matchup."

"Yeah, you got to understand, in a one-on-one, jump-ball situation, he (Fitzgerald) is going to get it like a rebound in basketball," Taylor said. "It's just positive what he has been doing. He's putting up numbers. The level of play is high. He's been doing it in the league a long time, but now people are taking notice on another level.

"This is definitely a good matchup. It is going to be noticed by a lot of people. It's what you want to see in a football game. Especially in a Super Bowl."

Taylor, 28 and in his sixth NFL season, has tailored his life and his game around these principles: Stand up to pressure and knock it down. Don't believe the hype, create your own.

Those are bedrocks that would serve any NFL cornerback well, particularly Taylor in his Super Bowl rumble with Fitzgerald and the Cardinals' batch of perilous receivers. Taylor said the Steelers ask him "to play ball," to be an anchor in pass coverage and engage in run support. Taylor gives them technique, heart, discipline, intelligence. He runs, covers, hustles, hits.

Those traits are embodied in the entire Pittsburgh defense, thus far the NFL's best in statistics and repute.

Taylor already has lived thrilling NFL playoff moments. His interception against the Denver Broncos in the 2005 AFC Championship Game helped propel Pittsburgh to Super Bowl XL. Once there, Taylor grabbed an interception that helped the Steelers earn the championship over the Seattle Seahawks.

Just three years after being a fourth-round draft pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette, Taylor had a ring. Soon afterward, he signed a four-year, $23 million contract extension. Then he was benched.

Taylor lost his starting job for five games in 2006, which was coach Bill Cowher's final season in Pittsburgh. Cowher saw a player content and losing his edge. Steelers teammates, including linebacker James Farrior, eventually went to Cowher to request Taylor's return as a starter. Cowher listened.

"I appreciate what my teammates did for me," Taylor said. "I just kept playing. I tried to do what I had done that worked. That experience helped me to become the type of player who works more on his weaknesses than his strengths.

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"You're talking about someone who grew up with a single parent who made ends meet, who went to high school where there wasn't air conditioning and tempers flared and people were frustrated, who coming from that environment had to work on my grades and had to sit out my first two years of college football. I was grounded, and I had family that taught me how to be hard-nosed."

Tomlin wiped everything clean for Taylor in 2007. Tomlin saw a 6-foot-2, 195-pound cover guy who was prepared for another level.

"Coach T is a very intelligent guy," Taylor said. "On the day he was hired, he called me at 8 that night. He asked me, how did I know it was him? I told him no one else would be calling me at 8 at night from the facility.

"I told him I appreciated the confidence he had in me. He could have let me know that in some other way, but he chose that way. He took it to that level, more as an act of love. Our communication has become at that level."

Taylor also said Dick LeBeau, Pittsburgh's defensive coordinator, "is like a father to me," and the coach taught him that technique wins over athleticism. Taylor said LeBeau treats free agents with the type of respect he does All-Pro players. That earns LeBeau immeasurable respect, Taylor said.

"I told him, 'If I had hands like you when you played '" Taylor said of LeBeau, who had 62 interceptions in 14 seasons (1959 to 1972) with the Detroit Lions. "He said, `You already passed me.' I sit around sometimes and think about what he was saying there. I got a lot of trust in him. You have to gain that kind of trust from him."

Thus, the Steelers want Taylor to rise to another level, to leap with Fitzgerald in Super Bowl XLIII. Taylor looks suited. His texture now matches his talent.

"You learn there will be some bad days and sometimes more bad ones than good ones," Taylor said. "But nobody remembers the loser. I get a chance for a second championship. This is a chance for our defense to put our name and stamp on what we do."
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:54 PM   #2
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Default Re: ike is ready for fitz

I'm sure Ike can cover him all by himself!
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: ike is ready for fitz

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Originally Posted by devilsdancefloor View Post
Taylor, 28 and in his sixth NFL season, has tailored his life and his game around these principles: Stand up to pressure and knock it down. Don't believe the hype, create your own.
Pun intentional?
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: ike is ready for fitz

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I'm sure Ike can cover him all by himself!
I sincerely hope Fitz and the Cards are underestimating Ike like Cards fans are.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: ike is ready for fitz

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I sincerely hope Fitz and the Cards underestimate Ike like Cards fans are.
I just hope the Steelers would actually do it! Lets find out how that would turn out early and often!
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: ike is ready for fitz

No question this will be one of the bigger key match ups in the game. Ike vs Fitz. It's going to be tough, but I know Ike will be up for the challenge.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: ike is ready for fitz

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No question this will be one of the bigger key match ups in the game. Ike vs Fitz. It's going to be tough, but I know Ike will be up for the challenge.

I still think the key matchup is going to be Heath Miller against our LB's and FS/SS...
I have a huge amount of respect of Ike, but you really don't want him one on one with Fitz... As Cards fans, we really hope we see that as much as possible. Kurt and Fitz will win that battle an overwhelming majority of time...

But, Miller is really your key and has me most worried...
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: ike is ready for fitz

Physical receiver vs Physical corner

Tall receiver vs Tall corner

should be interesting. My money's on ike. hoping he has more catches than fitz though
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: ike is ready for fitz

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I still think the key matchup is going to be Heath Miller against our LB's and FS/SS...
I have a huge amount of respect of Ike, but you really don't want him one on one with Fitz... As Cards fans, we really hope we see that as much as possible. Kurt and Fitz will win that battle an overwhelming majority of time...

But, Miller is really your key and has me most worried...
I would be concerned about having to cover Heath too The problem is with Arians he feels the need to make Miller stay back and help the OL block a lot. Heath is a big time weapon and hopefully Arians will let him run more passing routes than blocking schemes come Super Bowl Sunday.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: ike is ready for fitz

Ike is straight SWAGGIN.
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