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The tandem is back together again, and if the results are anything like the first go around, the Steelers will be back to their Super Bowl form in the secondary.
Taylor has always had the physical tools (other than the nubs at the end of his arms that he calls hands), but that physical ability has been plagued with inconsistency. For whatever reason, that inconsistency seems to dissipate when he is opposite Bryant McFadden.
McFadden is coming off a season in Arizona where he posted career highs in passes, defense, and tackles, and he should have no problem assimilating back into the Steelers defense in 2010.
The importance of both McFadden and Taylor is two-fold.
1) The tandem excels in the man coverage aspect of the game. It became apparent during the 2009 season that William Gay does not have the ability to cover NFL caliber receivers one on one.
His constant need for safety help put a major strain on the “Polamaluless” defense last season. McFadden excelled in man coverage during his time in Pittsburgh, and the addition of his services to the secondary will allow the Steelers a great deal of latitude, scheme-wise.
2) The tandem provides not only leadership, but they make each other better. They seem to feed off of one another, and the byproduct tends to be league leading in nature.
The last time the tandem played together, the Steelers had the best pass defense in the NFL. Assuming that Taylor is going to push himself that much harder in a contract season, and McFadden will continue to be the solid cover corner he has been in recent years, there is no reason to expect that they could not achieve the same results again in 2010.