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Thread: Ike shadows Holmes to learn how to catch

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  1. #1
    Tailgate Coordinator
    Stlrs4Life's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    New Bedford, Pa.

    Post Ike shadows Holmes to learn how to catch

    Taylor turns to receiver for tips

    Ike Taylor has made six interceptions since becoming a starter in 2005.

    The Steelers cornerback said that total should be closer to 25.

    "At least eight a year," Taylor said of how many interceptions he could have made the last three seasons.

    Exaggeration or not, Taylor went on the offensive to correct perhaps the one thing that has prevented the sixth-year veteran from taking the next step in a solid career. In an effort to improve the hands that have too often failed him, Taylor crossed over, if only briefly, to what has to be considered the dark side for defensive backs.

    Instead of shadowing Santonio Holmes during workouts that preceded the start of training camp, Taylor became the Steelers wide receiver's shadow.

    He ran the same routes as Holmes, joined the third-year man in various pass-catching drills and essentially trained as if we were a wide receiver.

    Holmes may be four years younger than Taylor, 28, but he became the latter's mentor when the two were in Orlando training with a handful of other Steelers players at the Tom Shaw Performance Enhancement center.

    "With Ike, I was telling him some of the keys and techniques I use as a receiver on attacking the ball, to never blink when the ball's coming at you," Holmes said. "Most DBs are taught to knock the ball down."

    Attacking the ball is simply getting one's hands out in front of their body instead of waiting for the ball to come to them. It does not come easily to cornerbacks simply because, as Holmes said, of the nature of their position.

    "(Taylor) always talked about how much trouble he had catching the ball," Holmes said, "so we just continued to have conversations about it."

    It is not uncommon for cornerbacks to have trouble catching, and not just because suspect hands landed more than a few of them on the defensive side of the ball.

    When cornerbacks are in coverage, they are usually watching a receiver and not the opposing quarterback. As such, they might not see a ball until well after it has left the quarterback's hand.

    Catching such balls, consequently, is comparable to trying to catch them in the dark.
    That explains a drill that is part of Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend's offseason training regimen.

    Townsend, who starts opposite Taylor, will stand with his back to someone holding a football. When he hears "Ball!" Townsend turns around and tries to catch the football that has been thrown. He never knows whether it is going to be high or low or left or right, and Townsend said it simulates the adjustments cornerbacks often have to make in games.

    "A lot of us don't catch many balls," Townsend said, "so we've got to get out there and work to make our hands better."

    Taylor said too many balls have bounced off his hands in recent seasons.

    That is why the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder worked so closely with Holmes and why he has been focusing on pass-catching fundamentals such as watching the ball all of the way into his hands.

    "It will take care of itself," Taylor said of his struggles with dropped balls. "I promise you that."

    If it does, Taylor, who led the Steelers in interceptions (three) last season and finished second in tackles (90), could snag a Pro Bowl selection.

    "I expect big things from him," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "He's a veteran, but he always comes out here looking for a winning edge."

    I'm A "Champion"

  2. #2
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    Jul 2008
    Great read, I'm a big fan of Ike and I hope he steps it up this season and becomes a pro bowler.

  3. #3
    Steel City Mafia # 632
    ItAintEasyBeingPeazy's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Gulf Coast, From Central Pa.
    Hopefully Nate Washington was the third shadow, lol.
    But for real tho..I love Ike, i think he's very underated.Dude's a baller.

    "He's running around there, running his mouth, doing all that, but if you watch him on film and really look, where was Ray Lewis? He was nowhere to be found. I could have tackled the water boy and had as many tackles as him. He didn't do nothing today. He's all mouth. When you talk like that, that's what happens: You get hit in the mouth. He's over there crying now, thinking about what went wrong. You got your *** whipped, that's what." ~ Peazy

  4. #4
    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Michigan City, IN
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    Ike has done well for himself....Especially for a former 4th round pick from a small school....I agree if he can hold onto a few more of those INTs then he will make the Pro Bowl.....Interesting how he shadowed Holmes in the off-season...Hope it pays off for Ike this season...

  5. #5
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    Mar 2007
    Stationed in GTMO(Cuba)
    Ike is as talented a corner as they come, and I'll be happy even if all he does is knock the ball down every time. I mean, as long as he's knocking em down and not getting burned then he's doing a good job. It will be nice to see him pick off some more balls though

  6. #6
    Draft Pick terrible.towel43's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    Ike is definately my favorite DB. The guys a baller, and it's nice to see holmes step into the leadership role of helping out his teammates. They have the same hair too lol.

  7. #7
    The One And Only Phenomenal TJ's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    Canton, Ohio
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    I've met him, had dinner with him and my girlfriends family, since her dad was a huge Steelers fan and somehow his job allowed him to meet many famous people. He had an attitude, but perhaps it was a bad day?

    Either way, this can only help his career.

  8. #8
    Starter SteelCityKid5's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    Central PA
    I love Ike. I think this will help him for this upcoming season. As for the other corner spot, I this Deshea is a good corner but I think he aging. This is why the Steelers NEEEEED to sign McFadden before the season or in the off season. McFadden could be a shut down corner in this league. He's been a good player so far but I dont think he's been on the field as much as he should be. Remember, he was a big part of that Indianapolis Colts game when knocked down Payton Mannings pass in the 4th quarter which was intended for Reggie Wayne and he did that as a rookie! This guys a baller! I just think he needs more time on the field.

  9. #9
    ejsteeler's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
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    The best part of this is how it should effect the other members of the team. Just as negativity brings others down, this mindset is a positive thing the others can feed off of.
    Come on season!!!!!

  10. #10
    Draft Pick 25MVPKing's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    RCA Dome
    This is exactly the kind of news I've been waiting to hear about Ike. I have a little more hope now.

    Now, as SteelCityKid said, we just need to get McFadden out there more so he can develop into the corner I know he can become (from watching him at Florida State).
    Hotlink it and spread the love!

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