"Mike Wallace," said Taylor.
Anyone else in the league scare you?
"Don't nobody scare nobody," Taylor said. "There's a difference between being a deep threat and being scared. If you're scared you shouldn't be playing."
But, isn't Mike Wallace scary?
"Mike Wallace is that guy."
Taylor said it with the same conviction as when he claimed Wallace to be "the fastest guy I ever covered" during the first week of Wallace's rookie camp in 2009.
Remember that, Ike?
"He just got speed you can't even coach, and he don't even run properly. So that's scary," Taylor said. "When a guy's running past people and don't have no technique on running, don't know how to run really, that's scary."
How does he run?
"He run like he on the playground, like he a little kid. His form isn't right, arms out wide. But every time you see him, he runnin' past people."
So the conversation swung from New Orleans Ike to New Orleans Mike, who runs wrong.
"I do," said Wallace.
Anyone ever try to fix it?
"Yeah," he said. "It don't work. Don't change what's not broke, you know? I might run wrong, but it's right … as in right by their ass."
And that's no lie. If the Steelers' defense can't stop the New England Patriots on Sunday – and nothing from the past gives any indication that they will – the Steelers can run right by their … well, right by them with their offense.
Bill Belichick knows. Here was his exchange with a New England reporter on the topic:
Q: On Mike Wallace's 95-yard catch, it seemed that they were protecting against that.
Belichick: "Well they didn't protect against it very well."
Q: How does that keep happening?
Belichick: "Wallace runs a lot of stuff besides deep routes now. He runs a lot of stuff in front of the defenders because they're playing him deep. They run a lot of crossing patterns where if he catches the ball he just runs away from the defense. It's not all go routes. He runs his share of those but he does a lot of other things, too. He's really developed as a receiver. He's improved a lot from where he was in college in terms of his route technique and it looks like his ability to read coverages and make decisions on different coverage-looks people are trying to give him. He's done a good job. It looks like he's improving every week."
Wallace leads all active NFL players in yards per catch. His 20.3-yard average leads runner-up Devery Henderson by 1.6 yards.
Officially, Wallace averages 20.32 yards per catch through two-and-a-half seasons. That's nearly identical to perhaps the greatest deep threat of all time, "Bullet" Bob Hayes, who averaged 20.33 yards per catch in his first three seasons at the same age as Wallace. And those were the future Hall-of-Famer Hayes's best seasons, statistically.
Wallace had never heard of Hayes, who was the same height as Wallace but 12 pounds lighter. Nor had Wallace ever heard of Homer Jones, the other great deep threat of the 1960s who holds the highest career yards-per-catch average of any NFL receiver with at least 200 catches (22.26).
"You could get deep in the old days because nobody could stop you," said Wallace. "We've got the new era cornerbacks and safeties, and The Kid still is there."
That he is.
(Read the humorously insightful one-on-one interview with Mike Wallace here on the message board.)