Taylor's special delivery

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:51 AM ET

CALGARY - When Larry Taylor envisioned his first Calgary Stampeders touchdown, he was hitting the endzone after weaving through 12 oncoming defenders.

Instead, all Taylor needed to do was break one tackle for about a 20-yard uninterrupted sprint to paydirt.

Taylor doesnt mind.

The Stamps have played him more on offence this season than the speedy return specialist was used in his CFL past.

I thought (the first TD) would be on special teams, Taylor said. The coverage and punters are doing a great job.

We just happened to get a good call (on offence), and I was able to win on that particular play.

But despite not hitting the endzone as a returner in a 32-20 victory Saturday over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Taylor managed to pick up the CFL special teams player-of-the-week honours handed out Tuesday.

The 26-year-old did have a great punt return in the third quarter of the Ticats victory, swinging out wide for a 42-yard gain.

His big play, though, was shaking off the tackle of linebacker Markeith Knowlton and scoring a 25-yard catch-and-run TD on offence.

When the Stamps signed the former Montreal Alouettes star as a free agent this off-season, head coach John Hufnagel said Taylor would be used in the offence.

So far, that has held true.

Coming into this season, the 5-foot-6 speedster had seven receptions for 38 yards, all coming in 2009 when he was the CFLs most outstanding special teams player.

There are various offensive formations in which Taylor comes into play, either working from the backfield or as a receiver in the slot.

He has five rushing attempts for 21 yards and eight receptions for 66 yards.

It feels good to be on another great team like I was in Montreal, said Taylor, who helped the Alouettes win the 2009 Grey Cup.

Im on another powerful, explosive offence. Im happy to get utilized and be part of it instead of just waiting on special teams.

I know, first and foremost, my job is special teams. Anything on offence is a bonus.

There arent too many instances in football where a great returner doubles as a receiver.

The skill-set is much different for the two football positions.

On offence, the receiver must be able to read the defence, find the hole and wait for the ball.

On returns, he catches the ball and bursts ahead, reading the play to find the seam and anticipate where it develops.

Chad Owens is working at being a starting receiver with the Toronto Argonauts, but he hasnt been as explosive on returns as he was a year ago.

Taylor joins the offence as an extra receiver, and the Stamps dont want to wear him down.

Its a conscious thing, said Stamps special teams co-ordinator Mark Kilam. We give him what we can handle, and if we need to back off, we back off. Right now, hes handling the workload, and hes running with it.

Hes a playmaker, so we have to get him on the field in more ways than one. There were high expectations for him. Hes been a proven playmaker in this league, and hes starting to hit his stride.

A year ago, Taylor was on an NFL tryout as the CFL suddenly exploded with return touchdowns. This year is quite different, as only two touchdowns have been scored on punt returns one by Toronto Argonauts Matt Black that wasnt picked up by the primary returner on a short punt.

I would hope it breaks out sometime soon but I dont think its going to be much like it was last year, Taylor said. That was one of those years where there were a lot of big plays on special teams.

The coverages have buckled down and got better, even from the first two years I was in the league.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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