All-Business Side of Ike Taylor

Mike Prisuta reports that Ike Taylor was handed his next all-world assignment before he could celebrate his successes against the last.

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Mike Tomlin had encouraging words for most of his Steelers after the Cardinals had been defeated, but for Ike Taylor the head coach had a message.

"Ike T … Wes Welker … see you at work tomorrow," Tomlin said as Taylor entered the locker room following Sunday's 32-20 triumph.

From Larry Fitzgerald to Welker, no wonder Taylor was hardly given a moment to exhale.

He had battled Fitzgerald about as well as can be expected, giving up a 31-yard completion and incurring three penalties through three-plus quarters of in-your-face defense against perhaps the NFL's best receiver.

The Steelers will take that over the dagger Fitzgerald threw at them a few years ago in the Super Bowl. No last-minute offensive heroics were necessary this time.

Taylor had as much to do with that as anyone.

He had plenty of help, to be certain, because that's the type of attention Larry Fitz demands. But Taylor's battle level never waned and Tomlin appreciated what that meant to the Steelers in a potentially pivotal game.

"Very competitive," Tomlin assessed. "But that's how he's been all year. Ike is a guy that welcomes those challenges.

"Just kind of a humble, blue-collar work ethic and approach to his business; you like guys like that on your team that are competitors, man, don't run away from challenges. Obviously, the great Larry Fitzgerald is a challenge."

Afterward, Taylor was much more blue-collar than "Swaggin' U." He looked and sounded in the locker room as if he were still locked in, still focused, and well aware that the hard part is just getting started.

"He's going to get his yards regardless," Taylor said of Fitzgerald. "He's a Pro Bowler. If he keeps doing it he'll be a Hall of Famer. I tip my hat to him."

As for Taylor on Taylor, "It's cool to win," he said. "If you don't play perfect you don't really feel too good. That's what makes a professional a professional.

"Regardless of whether you win or not if you don't feel like you played a perfect game you always want to get better."

Fitzgerald had two catches for 44 yards prior to a drive that began with 6:40 remaining and the Steelers leading, 32-14. He finished with four receptions for 78 yards and never did find the end zone.

Although that's been an ongoing problem for Arizona, Taylor's approach nonetheless set a tone for a Steelers defense that's seemingly digging in, no one more so than Ike.

"The offense is clicking now," Taylor said. "The special teams are a play away. The defense is close, but not where we want to be. It's a matter of time."

So locked in is Taylor that he didn't want to talk Welker or even acknowledge he'll be covering him, even though Tomlin had already unofficially announced the impending matchup.

"It really doesn't matter," Taylor said. "I just need to do what I need to do. Coach will give me my assignment and I'll take it from there."

With that, Taylor said, he was going home to watch some tape.

"Probably start (tonight)," Taylor said, "and let it run throughout the week."


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