The job is wide open heading into training camp and the best man will win and be named the starting running back for the 2014 Arizona Cardinals. So second-year player Stepfan Taylor knows that this is a golden opportunity and one that requires additional offseason work – even from a unique category.
“For about a month and a half, I did kick boxing with my cousin three times a week,” he says. “We started out doing five rounds of three minutes and worked our way up to 12 rounds. It helped make my core stronger, was something different and fun, too.”
Standing at 5’10” with a playing weight of 220 last season, Taylor is looking to put on some more weight, but at the same time keep his speed and athleticism. So besides the kick boxing, the Stanford graduate also played a good amount of basketball to hone his quickness and explosiveness – two traits imperative to get touches in the backfield.
“As a running back, you need to work on your legs and balance,” the 2013 fifth round draft choice explains, “but also your upper body to be effective in pass protection.”
An example given was to perform a movement in the weight room to emulate what would be done on the field, such as a close grip flat bench press and pushing off, akin to the arm position when blocking.
Taylor also uses strict form and still heeds what Shannon Turley, his college strength and conditioning coach, taught. “Get the technique before worrying about the (amount of) weight being used,” Taylor says. “I have kept that in the back of my mind since getting to the NFL.”
And he has given himself a fighting chance to become the Cardinals feature back.
Be sure to follow Stepfan Taylor on Twitter – @KULABAFI
Photo courtesy of the Arizona Cardinals