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Ike Taylor talks guarding Bengals’ WRs and “Steelers Week” rivalry with Cincinnati

Cincy Jungle’s Anthony Cosenza had a recent sit-down with the former Pittsburgh defensive back to preview Week 10 between the Bengals and the Steelers.

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For more than a decade, Ike Taylor patrolled the back end of the Steelers’ perpetually-awesome defense in the 2000s. while he never made a Pro Bowl, Taylor was a consistent producer in the NFL.

In particular, he tortured Bengals receivers. His matchups with Chad Johnson were iconic, while A.J. Green battled Taylor towards the end of his solid career.

As the first chapter of “Steelers Week” within the Joe Burrow era is written this Sunday, we caught up with Taylor earlier this week. We talked about those one-on-one matchups with the former Steelers defensive back.

“As far as, like, footwork, ‘Ocho’ had the best footwork,” Taylor said. “‘Ocho’ made playing in the NFL like playing park ball. ‘Ocho’ made running routes, stopping on a dime easy.”

Taylor entered the NFL in 2003 when Johnson was hitting his professional prime. Even with Carson Palmer and the six Pro Bowls to his name, No. 85 had troubles against Taylor. However, that didn’t stop the former Steeler from gushing about Chad.

“Ocho was 6’2”, so he was pretty tall. Usually the taller receivers they don’t have what we call ‘good Midas brakes’,” Taylor continued. “Ocho had the best brakes, as far as like stopping on a dime and getting in and out of his cuts.”

A debate that will rage on for decades to come amongst Bengals fans is in “Chad vs. A.J.”. The former made the Bengals very relevant from 2001-2010, while the latter walked the walk without talking the Ocho talk.

A.J. Green was super-athletic and stronger than what you thought he was,” Taylor said of No. 18. “I’d say Green was, or is more of a basketball player, playing football. He could high-point the ball, he could get behind you any time of the day with his sneaky speed and he was stronger than what you thought,” the former Pittsburgh defensive back said about the perennial Pro Bowl wideout for the Bengals.

When it came to picking the tougher matchup though, Taylor still went with eighty-five. In giving the slight edge to Chad, Taylor noted health as a major factor, as Green has missed a lot time recently. Still, Taylor noted: “If you’re catching a healthy A.J., you’re catching hell.”

Some other areas of conversation:

  • Taylor talked about the differences in playing for Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin.
  • When asked about the focus of the Steelers franchise when building a winner, Taylor noted Pittsburgh’s emphasis on finding players to immediately help them dominate the AFC North.
  • “Joe Cool” was the name Taylor gave to Joe Burrow when we talked about him in our interview, while gushing over Cincinnati’s newest franchise quarterback.

Check it out!

Our thanks to Ike Taylor, the Bleav podcast network and EAG Sports Management! Go check out his podcast on the Bleav network to get a glimpse at all the happenings with the Steelers!

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