Taylor not likely to start Sunday; McFadden will move up
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Ike Taylor may go from shutdown cornerback to sitdown cornerback this week.
Steelers coach Bill Cowher suggested Tuesday that he may make lineup changes, and demoting Taylor is a big one.
Signed in September to a five-year, $22.5 million contract, Taylor was told he likely will not start at left cornerback when the Steelers play New Orleans in Heinz Field Sunday.
"That's how it is," Taylor said yesterday with a shrug. "I've got to work my way up, plain and simple."
Second-year man Bryant McFadden is next on the depth chart and likely would start in Taylor's place.
"I feel every week is an opportunity for me," said McFadden, who started two games this season at right cornerback for an injured Deshea Townsend. "Whenever my number's needed to be called, I always want to go out and play football and stay around the ball and try to be consistent."
Taylor, who received a $6.4 million signing bonus when he signed his new deal this year, often has covered the opponent's best receiver. That's what he was doing Sunday against Denver's Javon Walker. He shut down other receivers, but Walker caught six passes for 134 yards, including twin 10-yard touchdowns on fade patterns, which are basically lob passes in the end zone.
"It's a tough business, if that's how it is," McFadden said of a Taylor demotion. "For me, I'm just going in and doing what I usually do week-in and week-out, and, whatever happens on Sunday, be ready."
Taylor moved into the starting lineup to open the 2005 season and has been there since. He led all AFC defenders with 25 passes defensed last season, and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau on occasion assigned him to cover a team's best receiver, flipping sides if necessary.
He assumed that role for times this season and did it successfully four times. He blanketed Miami's Chris Chambers, Cincinnati's Chad Johnson and Oakland's Randy Moss, allowing no touchdowns. Sunday, against Walker, was a different story.
"You have to get over it," Taylor said. "You can't let it linger. That's the first time it happened to me, it won't happen again. You just have to move on, you have to learn from it."
Taylor likely will take the field when the Steelers go to their dime passing defense that deploys six backs.
"Coach said just fight your way out, that's all," Taylor said.
First Published November 9, 2006 12:00 am