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Week 9 cornerback rankings: Josh Norman excellent in return

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. For the second straight year, Taylor's weekly series 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 and top-three CB duos.

Featured on Ike's Island this week ...

Daryl Worley and James Bradberry, Carolina Panthers

Carolina is getting back to old-school Panthers football, relying on the front seven to set the tone. And it's led Carolina to the No. 2 spot in total defense heading into Week 9. But I'm here to talk about second-year corners Worley and Bradberry. The game has slowed down for the young duo, allowing each to react instead of think.

Bradberry has seen more than three times the targets Worley has in 2017. Bradberry has allowed 30 receptions on 56 targets for 365 yards (12.2 yards per reception) and one touchdown. That's quite a few yards, but I'm impressed that he's only allowed one touchdown on 56 total targets. On the flip side, Worley has been targeted 19 times and given up 16 receptions for 108 yards (6.75 ypc). Unfortunately, he's given up three touchdowns on the season. Like I've said in the past, I'm much more forgiving of cornerbacks who give up yards, but once you let a receiver in the end zone, you're really costing your team. 

They still have plenty of work to do in coverage, but the thing I like about these two is they tackle well. That's exactly what they'll have to do against Julio Jones and the Falcons' running backs Sunday. They can't allow Jones to pick up extra yards due to missed tackles -- and stopping Atlanta's dynamic backs on the perimeter will be key.

Week 9 cornerback rankings: My top 10

EDITOR'S NOTE: The lineup below reflects changes from Ike's Week 8 rankings.

Well, well, well. Look who hasn't skipped a beat after missing three weeks due to a rib injury. I'm surprised Dak Prescott didn't target Norman more in his return, but that's respect. The Redskins CB tackled well and held Dez Bryant in check Sunday, as Bryant didn't have a single catch against Norman, who also recovered a fumble early. More often than not, it takes time for guys to move back up the list after an injury, but Norman has yet to give up a touchdown in five games. If he wants to keep receivers out of the end zone Sunday vs. Seattle, he must plaster, given how much Russell Wilson scrambles and extends plays.

Talib is knocked from the top spot because the level of Norman's play when he's available is so dang high. In Denver's divisional loss at Arrowhead, the game fell on the mistakes of the offense. This savvy veteran gave up just one reception for 25 yards to Tyreek Hill. I'll get to the Broncos' matchup vs. the Eagles below in the tandems section.

Sherman had his busiest game of the year Sunday against Deshaun Watson and the Texans. On six targets, he allowed three receptions for 71 yards, one of which was a Will Fuller touchdown. Sherman's eyes got caught in the backfield and he didn't plaster well. But he redeemed himself with two interceptions, including the game-sealing pick. I can see Sherman lining up against Jordan Reed in certain situations this week, which I'm really looking forward to. I don't think Sherman will have much trouble against any Washington receivers.

 ***Fun fact:** Sunday was Sherman's sixth career game with multiple picks (most in the NFL since 2011). His 32 career interceptions are also the most in the league since 2011.* 

Coming off the bye, Peterson and Co. head to the Bay Area to face a 0-8 49ers team. Although winless, San Francisco has been competitive. So the Cardinals, who haven't been all that impressive themselves, can't get caught sleeping. It's not likely that new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo gets the start for the Niners, but even if he does, Peterson shouldn't have any issues.

Rhodes, who has yet to give up a TD in coverage in 2017, had another good performance after seeing little action against the Browns. The Vikings' secondary has played well through eight weeks and has a perfectly timed bye. Rhodes should come out raring to go in Week 10 vs. Washington.

Smith's career-best season continued against the Dolphins. His shutdown performance -- allowing three catches for 8 yards on 38 snaps in coverage -- was highlighted by this pick-six of Matt Moore. Of 130 plays in coverage in 2017, the Ravens' CB1 has allowed all of 10 receptions on 18 targets for 88 yards, a 0:1 TD-to-INT ratio and a 45.6 passer rating. Helluva year thus far.

Ramsey has proven he's able to cover top receivers time and time again. Next up is A.J. Green, who ranks in the top six in every major receiving category since entering the NFL in 2011. It's the first meeting between the two playmakers, and it's vital that Ramsey keeps Green in check if the Jags want a chance to win.

Bouye should be fresh coming off the bye week, and he'll need to play his best to limit A.J. Green. The two met in Week 12 of 2014, a game in which Bouye held Green to three catches on three targets for 25 yards. Given the improvements each player has made since, it should be an interesting matchup.

Since the Giants lost Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall for the season, Eli Manning has spread the ball around. Johnson must make sure to stay dialed in Sunday, so that a no-name receiver doesn't become Eli's new household one.

Harris played well against the Chiefs, allowing one catch on four targets for 5 yards. The "No Fly Zone" hasn't been the problem in the Broncos' three-game slump. Harris is doing his part.

ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Marshon Lattimore, Saints; Jason McCourty, Browns; Adam Jones, Bengals; Tre'Davious White, Bills; Bradley Roby, Broncos; Darius Slay, Lions; Marcus Peters, Chiefs.


 Monday's loss wasn't about Denver's CBs vs. K.C.'s receivers as much as it was about the safeties vs. 
 Travis Kelce (who had 133 yards and a TD). Talib and Harris allowed just 30 yards on two receptions between the two of them. This week, the 
 Eagles' receivers present a challenge, with deep threat 
 Torrey Smith, big-bodied 
 Alshon Jeffery, tight end 
 Zach Ertz and slot receiver 
 Nelson Agholor. Not to mention, sophomore quarterback 
 Carson Wentz is in the MVP conversation midway through the season. Talib and Harris are good about not giving up big plays. That must carry over if Denver wants to get back on track. 
 *Next up: at Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.* 

Players: A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey.

Bouye and Ramsey each rank in the top five in passer rating allowed in coverage this season (of DBs with a minimum of 30 targets). Bouye is second, allowing a 44.1 passer rating against, while Ramsey ranks fifth at 56.7. A.J. Green lines up across from the Jags on Sunday. I played Green during my time in Pittsburgh, and he's just too good to not be productive. My question is: Which one of these cornerbacks will Green have a field day against?

 *Next up: vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.* 

Players: Joe Haden and Artie Burns.

The Steelers bent but didn't break against Matthew Stafford and the Lions in Week 8. Stafford threw for over 400 yards, yet the Lions didn't get in the end zone all game. Haden allowed four receptions on eight targets for 66 yards, while Burns gave up four catches on seven targets for 88 yards. That's a lot of yards between the two, but the defense as a whole was great in the red zone. Communication keeps improving in this secondary, and it's showing.

 *Next up: Bye week (at Indianapolis Colts in Week 9).* 

Cornerback tandems that just missed the cut: Tre'Davious White and E.J. Gaines, Bills; Jalen Mills and Rasul Douglas, Eagles.

Follow Ike Taylor on Twitter _@IkeSwagginU_.

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