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|01-20-2011, 07:27 AM||#1|
A Son of Martha
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Steelers' Taylor defends his turf
Steelers' Taylor defends his turf
Beaver County Times
Thursday January 20, 2011 12:03 AM
Ike Taylor doesn’t have an island named after him. But his territory in the Steelers’ secondary has become a troubling place for opposing wide receivers.
Never is Taylor mentioned by the national media in any discussion about the NFL’s top cornerbacks. Never does he receive national acclaim like Darrelle Revis of the Jets.
But Taylor has defended the pass well enough since becoming a starter in 2005 that he believes he’s earned his own piece of the turf.
“Revis has his own island,” Taylor said, “but I’ve got like a little block. And I don’t want anybody coming into my block or disrespecting my block.”
"What’s the name of Taylor’s block?
“I don’t have a name for it, but it’s my block,” he said.
On Sunday when the Steelers play the Jets in the AFC Championship Game, Revis will take on either Hines Ward or Mike Wallace man-to-man.
Revis, an Aliquippa native, held Ward to just two catches for 34 yards when the Jets upset the Steelers at Heinz Field on Dec. 19. But in that game, Wallace caught seven passes for 102 yards.
So maybe Revis may be assigned to cover Wallace this time.
Taylor, however, will stick to the man he watched five weeks ago. Once again, he’ll shadow Santonio Holmes, the former Steeler.
“I’m asking for that … me and ‘Tone,” Taylor said. “He’s their fourth-quarter (guy). He’s their last-drive guy. He’s their big-play guy. He’s their guy. If he’s their guy, I want to be on that guy.
“I know what ‘Tone brings to the table. ‘Tone knows what I bring to the table. It’s going to be a good match-up.”
In that 22-17 loss to the Jets earlier this season, Taylor did a solid job against Holmes, who totaled only 40 yards on six catches.
Holmes didn’t put up big numbers in last week’s 28-21 upset in New England (three catches for 20 yards).
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But he did come down with a sensational 7-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter that gave the Jets a 21-11 lead.
If Holmes didn’t make that tip-toe catch in the corner of the end zone on third-and-4, the Jets would have kicked a field goal.
“That’s what he does. That’s a normal play for Santonio,” said Taylor, who got his second Super Bowl ring thanks to Holmes’ historic catch in the Steelers’ SB 43 win over Arizona two years ago.
“I expect that out of ‘Tone. He’s capable of doing that week in and week out.
It’ll be Taylor’s job Sunday to prevent Holmes from catching any TD catches.
If Taylor does put the clamps on Holmes and the Steelers win, maybe he’ll finally get some national recognition.
Taylor has never received any postseason honors for his play in his eight seasons. He’s never been to the Pro Bowl. Making the NFL’s all-star game has long been one of Taylor’s personal goals.
But like his teammates, he prefers to play in the Super Bowl.
“What’s kept Ike from not being considered one of the league’s top cornerbacks is the fact he hasn’t had a lot of interceptions over the years,” Ward said. “But we know what Ike brings to the table. He doesn’t have to prove anything to us. As far as we’re concerned, he plays at a Pro Bowl level for us.”
As Ward said, Taylor never has ranked among the league leaders in interceptions. He’s never had more than three in a season. He only has two this year. He only has 11 in his career. By comparison, Revis already has 16 career picks and he’s only in his fourth year.
However, Taylor has started on two Super Bowl teams.
“Man, it doesn’t even matter,” Taylor said of his lack of national recognition. “Reputation isn’t everything. It’s all about having pride and making plays.”
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