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Kipper : It's Time For The #Steelers To Cut Ties With Ike Taylor

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
Today's NFL is about Passing the ball and Defensively it is about Defending against the Pass. The Pittsburgh Steelers have improved in this area over the past 2 seasons when they have had healthy personnel. Dick LeBeau has adjusted his Defense and his schemes to counter against not just more passing in the NFL, but quicker passing, more spread out passing. Today's NFL isn't about just throwing the ball to 3 Wide's, Tight End's are big parts of the Receiving game. Running Back's are big parts of the Receiving game. While the Steelers ability to get to the QB has languished in recent seasons thanks to aged and injured players, the Steelers Defensive Backs have picked up the slack.
ike-taylor-stiff-arm.jpgIt is my belief that a Secondary makes for a good Pass Rush in Today's NFL. I'm not suggesting that you don't need a Pass Rush, and I certainly believe that the Steelers need to improve theirs, but coverage sacks account for a majority of team and player sacks. If you're not able to get a sack because of tight coverage, you're forcing the QB to throw the ball when he doesn't want to which can lead to turnovers and at worst an incompletion. Today's NFL requires teams to have a strong secondary.
So why am I advocating that the Pittsburgh Steelers move on without Ike Taylor if the need for a strong Secondary is a must?
I believe the combination of Keenan Lewis and Cortez Allen on the outside Corners is just as good as if Ike Taylor were playing, better for the long term future and right now, much cheaper.
Ike Taylor will be 33 years old when the season starts. He started to lose a step last year before he was injured. He was getting tagged for Pass Interference and Interference calls enough to make every Forum, Blog, Facebook wall and Twitter Timeline explode. He's coming off of an injury that at his age, he's going to probably lose another step. He's not going to get any younger, any healthier or any faster. If he gets cheaper by means of restructuring his contract it's not going to make him a bargain.. and the Steelers need bargains right now.
Keenan Lewis had a surprisingly good year for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012. He developed into that CB that we had been looking for to be on the opposite side of Ike Taylor. When he got injured, Cortez Allen filled in for him very well. When Ike Taylor got injured, Cortez Allen after making some adjustments, played really well.
The Steelers need to get younger, they need to get cheaper and they need to get better. Ike Taylor is far into his decline years. He's not going to get any better. The Steelers have good, younger and cheaper options on the roster. There would be no bigger mistake for this team this Off-Season than to restructure Ike Taylor so that he can play on his old, injured body at the expense of not resigning Keenan Lewis who could be part of the future here for the next 5 seasons at CB before he hits the big decline years that Ike Taylor is facing right now.
Some will say the Steelers signed William Gay which means they don't need Keenan Lewis. William Gay isn't the greatest CB. He played the best of his career towards the very end of his stint with the Steelers but he's far better as a slot Corner Back in the Nickel Packages and the Steelers need improved talent at that position. William Gay is an upgrade over Curtis Brown there. The Steelers played a lot of Nickel last season. They have to in today's NFL. Teams are spreading the ball out and the more you have faster DB's covering WR's than 240lbs+ Linebackers, the better. A good teams is going to have good talent for their Nickel Packages and if the Steelers Front Office is sharing my belief, then signing William Gay makes sense.
If Keenan Lewis is mistakenly not resigned, Cortez Allen should take over his spot, but what happens if Ike Taylor gets injured again? It's very possible. He's older, his body won't heal like it did when he was younger and he is coming off a Fractured Right Ankle injury which could slow him down and hurt his ability to pivot like he once could. What if Ike Taylor continues to decline in play and is playing below average next season? Can you see him getting burned by A.J. Green and Torrey Smith in 4 games? Anquan Boldin? The Steelers face New England, Green Bay and Detroit next season. All of those teams throw the ball a lot and 2 of those teams possess very accurate QB's. If the Steelers need to make a change at CB, would you rather have (Allen - Gay) or (Allen - Lewis)?
It's time for Kevin Colbert to stop being afraid to cut expensive aging vets. Bill Cowher isn't here to hold his hand and make those decisions for him, he needs to start doing it on his own before Baltimore and Cincinnati completely pass up the Steelers and we're stuck in rebuilding mode for a few years when we didn't need to be
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