Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is certainly one of the tops in the league currently and it will be up to Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor to make sure that he does not have a performance anywhere close to one he had in the Week 16 game last year.
Taylor of course missed that game with a fractured ankle and Green proceeded to catch 10 passes for 116 yards as a result.
In the three previous games that Taylor has shadowed Green, he has faired just OK. After shutting Green down in the first game the two faced each other in Week 10 of the 2011 season, the Georgia product caught 6 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown against Taylor in the Week 13 game. Taylor, however, did record an interception in that game and was credited with two passes defensed in the 11 times he was thrown out.
Last season, Green was targeted just twice when covered by Taylor in the Week 7 game and while he only caught one pass for eight yards on a quick slant, it was good for touchdown.
In the game Monday night, Taylor will most certainly have help over the top from one the Steelers safeties, but there will be instances where he will have Green all to his lonesome when the Steelers play their cover-3 or quarters coverage.
While Taylor is unlikely to shut out Green Monday night, he must make the receiver earn everything that he gets. In addition, he can’t give up any explosive plays, which will be tough to do considering Green already has 38 of them for 1,368 yards and 8 touchdowns in just 32 regular season games played during his career.
As for Green, he has a lot of respect for Taylor.
“He’s a great corner, he’s probably one of the best in the league, been in the league a long time,” Green said Thursday. “He’s seen a lot, so I’m going to have to be fundamentally sound when I play against him.”