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Kaboly: All the Ike Taylor criticism is misguided


IkeI call it a lazy narrative.

And that’s what it has become when it comes to talking about cornerback Ike Taylor.

Sure, the veteran didn’t have the best of seasons in 2013. He called it a so-so year when he showed up to organized team activities during the spring.

So-so doesn’t mean bad, and it surely doesn’t mean terrible.

When Taylor was allowed to stay on just the right side of the defense and not follow around the opponent’s best receiver for the final five games last year, he was a lot better than so-so. He was good.

But Pro Football Focus – a popular analytical website – ranked Taylor as the 13th worst cornerback in the NFL last year and that skews the thinking of a lot.

I’ll let you in on a secret: Pro Football Focus’ grading system is severely flawed.

Taylor received bad marks against Detroit and Baltimore when he “allowed” Torrey Smith and Calvin Johnson long touchdown receptions. Those long touchdowns passes ultimately turned out not to be Taylor’s fault.

In both instances, Taylor was expecting safety help inside when there wasn’t any.

Those are just two examples. Surely there are more.

According to the same website, Taylor had games of limiting receivers to 47, 39, 65, 14 and 71 yards to end the season, but we conveniently leave that out.

He can cover. He can tackle. He can run. He can’t catch, but he never could.

Taylor has also been durable over his career missing only four games due to injury. He played in all but 24 snaps last year coming off an ankle injury that caused him to miss the final month of 2012.

In all reality, Taylor played well last year and extremely well for a guy who was 33.

Sure, he was forced to take a pay cut to stay around, but that is more because of his age than his ability.

Don’t get me wrong, Taylor’s best days are behind him.

But he has a lot of good football left in him and getting him for a bargain basement price is beneficial to the organization, not an indication of his worth.

The narrative of Taylor being a big question mark for the Steelers this upcoming season is just misguided.




Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly is the Pittburgh Steelers beat writer for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 300 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as four Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa, XLV in Dallas and 50 in San Francisco. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer; daughter Briella; and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug

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