Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor has already covered some of the best wide receivers in the league so far this season and on Sunday he will likely cover the best on the Oakland Raiders, according to head coach Mike Tomlin.
"He’s probably going to exclusively see Ike Taylor," said Tomlin when asked who would be covering Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore on Sunday. "That’s one of the challenges Ike relishes."
If you are to believe Pro Football Focus, Taylor is almost the 90th ranked cornerback in the league. So far this season, against the likes of Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green and Torrey Smith, Taylor has allowed 26 catches on 39 targets for 314 yards and no touchdowns. The 76 yards after the catch that Taylor has allowed shows that he has been tackling the catch well in addition. If that is what a 90th ranked cornerback plays like against top competition, sign me up for more of them.
Taylor has never been and never will be considered a shutdown cornerback, but he consistently limits opposing receivers from having huge games and also helps out against the run. Last week, Smith beat him for a huge explosive play, but Taylor did have solid coverage and it took a money throw from Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to beat him.
Sunday against the Raiders, Taylor will see a lot of Moore, who is only averaging just over four catches a game for just over 66 yards. 151 of Moore's 399 receiving yards have come after the catch this year and he is responsible for five of the 12 explosive passing plays the Raiders offense has so far this season.
Regardless of how many catches Moore has Sunday, as long as Taylor can keep him out of the end zone and limit him to just one explosive play, it will be another great day for the veteran cornerback.