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Old 07-25-2009, 08:23 AM   #1
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Default Speed keeps Steelers' Taylor in the game

Speed keeps Steelers' Taylor in the game
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...s_635267.html#
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, July 25, 2009

(Note there is a video that goes with the article. See above. - mesa)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Right before the start of the Steelers' final two days of voluntary practices in June, cornerback Ike Taylor was electronically timed in the 40-yard dash by speed coach Tom Shaw at Disney's Wide World of Sports.

Taylor was clocked in 4.26 seconds.

"We had a speed sign out here — it's a police radar gun they put on city streets,'' Shaw said. "We were running the 40-yard dash, and Ike ran 26 mph. The speed limit was 25, so Ike could have gotten a ticket for running.''

But seriously, folks.

"We had other guys running,'' Shaw said. "But 26 was a freak time. And he was just cruising.''

Taylor, 29, is a freakish athlete built more along the lines of a safety (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) than a corner. He also has a 42-inch vertical leap.

He ran 4.18 in the 40 (hand-held) at Louisiana-Lafayette's Pro Day in 2003 (he wasn't invited to the combine), prompting the Steelers to draft him in the fourth round that year despite the fact he played cornerback for only one season in college.

Taylor's speed and one-on-one cover skills influenced former Steelers coach Bill Cowher to start him ahead of veteran Chad Scott in Taylor's third pro season.

Taylor's world-class speed compensates for any lack of technique resulting from making the switch from running back to corner as a college senior.


Gil Brandt, the former Dallas Cowboys executive who now works for NFL.com and Sirius radio, rates Taylor among the top five cornerbacks in the league along with Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha, Denver's Champ Bailey, Philadelphia's Asante Samuel and Dallas' Terence Newman.

"All I know is he's pretty good,'' Brandt said of Taylor.

In 2008, Taylor enjoyed one of his finest seasons. He recorded a team-high 15 passes defensed while yielding only two touchdown receptions for the NFL's top-ranked defense.

Taylor's play has prompted comparisons to former NFL cornerback Deion Sanders. (If I were Taylor I'd be insulted to be compared to "I don't tackle because I can't get my uniform dirty" PEON Deion - mesa)

"The thing with Deion was that when the ball was in the air, he just out-sprinted the receiver to the ball,'' said track coach Brooks Johnson, who is based at Disney's Wide World of Sports and has coached a runner at every Olympics since 1968. "He didn't necessarily have the best technique, and he didn't have the best initial coverage. But once the ball was in the air, he got to it (first).''

Johnson said Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes, who trains with Taylor in Florida, has "world-class" sprint mechanics.

"If you took the best guys in the Olympics and showed their technique and showed (Holmes') technique, you couldn't tell if he was a football player or a track star,'' Johnson said.

But as fast as Holmes is, Taylor is faster — even with lesser technique.

"Form and technique, you can tell it's not the most important thing because Ike doesn't run like an Olympic sprinter," Shaw said. "The key to Ike's success is his speed. Ike runs like a football player who is fast. Now he's really learning the game of football. He's learning more and more how to play corner.''

Shaw coached Sanders at Florida State in track and later as a star cornerback in the NFL. He gives Taylor the nod over Sanders in the speed department.

"Ike is the fastest kid I've ever trained,'' Shaw said.

Shaw said that would include Tennessee running back Chris Johnson, who ran the fastest time ever at the combine (4.24), and Sanders, who ran a 4.27 for No. 2 on the combine list.

Taylor, who is entering his seventh NFL season, said he has the potential to run faster as he gets older.

Johnson, the track coach, is familiar with Taylor's running style and offered a comparison to Olympic sprinter Carl Lewis, who Johnson said ran faster at 31 than he did at 21.

Taylor said he can do the same thing — thanks to a technique adjustment.

"Tall guys have long strides," Taylor said. "I was kind of like a tall guy with a short stride. Now I'm running like a tall guy. I'm gaining more ground in my steps. I'm gaining weight, running faster and getting stronger. I can wake up, no stretch, no nothing, and run a 4.3. All day.''

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

(I hope Taylor can develop better corner back technique to go with his speed. I'd almost rather see him working on technique. He'd last longer in the league that way and be more effective. - mesa)

Last edited by mesaSteeler; 07-25-2009 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 07-25-2009, 04:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: Speed keeps Steelers' Taylor in the game

Personally, I think Ike has never really gotten his just due. Sure one gets by him now and then, but the seasons of good, stellar play that many Steelers fans don't notice have far outweighed the bad reads on occasion.
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Old 07-25-2009, 04:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: Speed keeps Steelers' Taylor in the game

ike rocks!
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Old 07-25-2009, 04:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Speed keeps Steelers' Taylor in the game

Ike is a very good, very solid starter. The knock on him IMO, is that he can't change the game via an interception and he sometimes allows the tall recievers to go up over top of him.

But then again, I don't know if there is any CB I would really trade for right now.
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Old 07-25-2009, 05:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Speed keeps Steelers' Taylor in the game

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Originally Posted by Preacher View Post
Ike is a very good, very solid starter. The knock on him IMO, is that he can't change the game via an interception and he sometimes allows the tall recievers to go up over top of him.

But then again, I don't know if there is any CB I would really trade for right now.
I agree. I think he is a great starter. I just wish he would work more on his technique rather than his speed so he could become a game changer.
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Speed keeps Steelers' Taylor in the game

technique is something you can train and work on and speed you can't

i'd much rather have a speedy CB who doesnt always make the best reads than a slow one who does
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Old 07-26-2009, 12:31 AM   #7
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Default Re: Speed keeps Steelers' Taylor in the game

Now if only he could hold onto those gift wrapped interceptions...
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: Speed keeps Steelers' Taylor in the game

Wow that is a cruising and to think he can run faster then that. Hope he has a solid year and is someone else stated hopefully he can hang onto the ball when giving the chance.
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:10 AM   #9
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Default Re: Speed keeps Steelers' Taylor in the game

4.18 huh? so if ike was invited to the combine he'd be a raider

he should be thankful for that
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:45 AM   #10
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Default Re: Speed keeps Steelers' Taylor in the game

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4.18 huh? so if ike was invited to the combine he'd be a raider

he should be thankful for that
Wow, Ike and Nnamdhi= Passing game fail
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