Ike Taylor is no stranger to being on an island. The former Steelers cornerback helped Pittsburgh win two Super Bowls during his 12-year career. In this series, Taylor will feature one pertinent cornerback on "Ike's Island," where he breaks down the player's on-field play and significance heading into the coming week. In addition, he lists his updated top-10 cornerback rankings.
Featured on Ike's Island this week ...
After being named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015, Marcus Peters opened his sophomore campaign against San Diego's Keenan Allen, who suffered an ACL tear in the second quarter of Sunday's contest. Prior to the injury, Allen had five receptions on five targets for 42 yards against Peters. Peters was only targeted twice after the receiver's injury, and neither pass was completed.
Peters was challenged for one half of football, and it's a shame Allen -- one of the most talented receivers in the league -- again hopped aboard the injury train. But this week, we will truly see where Peters stands among the NFL's top corners when he faces a tall order of receivers in Houston, with talented rookies Will Fuller and Braxton Miller flanking Pro Bowl stud DeAndre Hopkins.
Peters should (and hopefully does) line up across Hopkins, but there were some surprising CB-WR matchups in Week 1. Going up against Hopkins 1-on-1 would be the ultimate test for Peters. For Peters to be successful, he must win the jump ball, which I pointed out last week. Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler will give Hopkins plenty of opportunities to make plays, especially in the end zone. Peters needs to win those jump-ball situations. If he doesn't, he could slide down in the rankings.
A little history: A year ago on the first play of Peters' NFL career, he jumped Hopkins' route and picked off quarterback Brian Hoyer. Following the INT, Peters allowed Hopkins to score a pair of touchdowns and finished the game giving up three receptions on five targets for 28 yards and two TDs. The two teams again faced off on Wild Card Weekend, but Peters did not follow Hopkins.
Week 2 cornerback rankings: My top 10
In Week 1 against the Dolphins, Sherman was targeted once. ONCE. That's respect. The one ball thrown his way was a 2-yard reception. He has proven to be one of the top cornerbacks in the league, and after one week of the 2016 season, he is my top choice.
That said, I think he'll face more targets in Week 2, with a divisional game on the road against the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams, who usually play Seattle tough, really struggled offensively on Monday night, so I think they will open up the playbook a bit more for quarterback Case Keenum to try to get something going offensively. But just because Sherman might get more balls thrown his way, that doesn't mean the outcome will be any different.
Like Sherman, Peterson ranked among the least-targeted cornerbacks in Week 1 with three passes thrown his way -- all three were receptions, for a total of 16 yards. An average of just over 5 yards per catch is pretty darn good. With that performance, I didn't see any reason to move him from this spot.
This week, Peterson most likely will match up against Mike Evans, who nearly had a 100-yard receiving performance Week 1. This will be another battle of jump balls. Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is going to give his receiver opportunities to make plays. It's up to the Cardinals' shutdown corner to use his athleticism and size (6-foot-1, 203 pounds) to deny the Winston-Evans exchange.
Against the Panthers in the league's season opener, Harris gave up two receptions -- one of which was a TD pass to Kelvin Benjamin, and the other was a completion to Greg Olsen for no gain -- on six targets. Although Harris gave up a score, he countered with an interception.
This week against the Colts, Harris will face deep threat T.Y. Hilton. These two are very similar in size (Harris is 5-10, 199 pounds; Hilton is 5-9, 180 pounds), speed and their elusive play. This is going to be a battle of inches.
See featured section above.
I was disappointed that Norman didn't follow Antonio Brown on Monday, especially when teammate Bashaud Breeland struggled. In two specific circumstances when Norman did match up against Brown, he stripped the ball on a non-catch and almost intercepted Big Ben.
This week, it's Norman vs. Dez Bryant. In 2015, Norman followed Bryant during their Thanksgiving Day contest -- a game where Bryant had two catches for 26 yards. I expect this to be a very physical matchup and it will give us our first glimpse of Norman following a WR1 as a Washington Redskin.
For Jones' size (5-10, 180 pounds), this point guard didn't do a bad job against power forwards Brandon Marshall (6-4, 230 pounds) and Eric Decker (6-3, 214 pounds). Jones allowed three receptions on as many targets for 31 yards. But this week against the Steelers, if Antonio Brown lines up on Jones' side, three catches can turn into 100 yards. Like I pointed out last week, it's essential that the corner tackles Brown the second he makes the catch. To do so, Jones must have great technique off the line of scrimmage in press coverage.
Like Harris, Verrett gave up a TD in Week 1, but also hauled in a pick. This week against the Jags, I want to see the third-year corner tighten his coverage. He will get tested by the Allens (Robinson and Hurns), who both do a great job of locating the ball and positioning their bodies to shield defenders. This will be a mismatch in height, as the both Hurns and Robinson have five inches on the Chargers CB. Verrett's key will be pass breakups, not interceptions. If the ball is in the vicinity of the Allen bros, Verrett needs to play through their hands. If he has a clear shot at the ball, then go after the pick.
The only reception Talib gave up in Week 1 went for 9 yards, and if he duplicates that performance this week against the Colts, he's a shoo-in to move up in the rankings. Talib's challenge is a physical Donte Moncrief. Both players are competitive as all get out, and whoever wins off the line will win this matchup.
Well, that was a disappointing performance. Cincinnati's A.J. Green racked up 152 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions vs. Revis -- although the TD wasn't entirely Revis' fault, as he should've had help from the safety on the play. But Revis has to close the cushion when facing top receivers. He likes the outside leverage, but needs to take the inside -- making the quarterback throw outside the numbers -- and use the sideline as another defender.
Revis' task this week might be Sammy Watkins -- if the banged-up Bills receiver is indeed good to go. In their two meetings a season ago, it was a night-and-day difference. In the first meeting in Week 10, Revis held Watkins to three catches for 14 yards. In their Week 17 matchup, Watkins went off with 11 catches for 136 yards. I'm not sure which outcome we're going to get, after last week's Revis performance -- and given Watkins' foot issue.
If Revis has another poor showing, he should go back to playing on one side of the field to get his confidence back up. And maybe he should stick to his most successful tactic: bump-and-run off the line.
ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN:Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona Cardinals; Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants; Damarious Randall, Green Bay Packers; William Gay, Pittsburgh Steelers.