Veteran Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor turned 34 earlier this month and even though 2013 was perhaps the worst season of his 11-year career, he believes that he can rebound in 2014.
“I still have a lot to prove,” Taylor said on the Tuesday episode of “The Ike Taylor Show” on Trib Live Radio. “I feel like over these last two years, especially last year, I feel like I got a lot to prove. That’s just me. That’s the competitiveness in me.”
While Taylor has never been one to point to injuries as being the cause of poor play at times during his career, he did hint on Tuesday that a rib injury caused him not be at his best last season.
“Man, I was banged up,” said Taylor. “No excuse. Once I go on that field, I still got to handle my business, but these last two years, Superman got caught with a little kryptonite.”
That little kryptonite last year that caught Taylor, who also missed the last four games of the 2012 season due to an ankle injury, primarily came in the form of big wide receivers, one of which was Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who caught 14 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns last season with Taylor covering him.
In addition, Taylor allowed 62.8% of the total passes thrown his way last season to be completed, according to Pro Football Focus.
Despite him being banged up last season, Taylor never missed a game and he only missed 24 defensive snaps. That’s a testament to the annual offseason conditioning that he does in Florida with renown trainer Tom Shaw.
Taylor took one heck of a pay cut this offseason in order to end his career with the Steelers and being as the team waited until the fifth-round this year to draft a cornerback, it appears as though that they trust he has one more good season left in him as well.
Taylor said Tuesday that he knows what he needs to do in 2014 in order to prove he still has what it takes to be a reliable starting cornerback for the Steelers.
“I got to go back to my hawk status. That’s all, I got to turn into the hawk now.”
Here’s to hoping that 2014 is indeed the year of the hawk.