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Cornerbacks situation biggest concern


Mike Tomlin could have acknowledged looking at the Steelers’ 16-7 loss to the Washington Redskins through the prism of August football.
Instead, the fifth-year coach called out his team for lack of execution — and to some degree effort — in a meaningless preseason game. That is not surprising since Tomlin treats an excuse as if it is a glowing ember, something that needs to be stamped out before it catches fire.
His level of dissatisfaction was disproportionate to what transpired in Landover, Md., considering the circumstances.
A handful of offensive starters, including Ben Roethlisberger, played just five snaps. The first-team defense took the field without James Harrison and Troy Polamalu, each of whom were held out of the game as a precaution.
What is worrisome following the Steelers’ first preseason game is the situation at cornerback. Even if Ike Taylor’s broken thumb is a minor setback –- and all indications point to that -– the Steelers are in no better position to defend against the spread than they were last February when Aaron Rodgers carved them up for 304 passing yards.
Bryant McFadden and William Gay are serviceable, but so far none of the young cornerbacks have stepped up to challenge them.
Rookies Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen can’t stay on the field. Keenan Lewis and Crezdon Butler have also had some injury issues. And neither distinguished himself against the Redskins despite ample playing time.
Not that just any team will be able to spread out the Steelers.
There, are to be sure, plenty of bad quarterbacks in the NFL. It’s just that most of them have been weeded out by the start of the playoffs.
If the Steelers are to successfully defend against teams spreading them out to neutralize the pass rush, they are going to need some of their young cornerbacks to emerge.
Or at least one of them anyway.

— Scott Brown



  1. David says:

    correct me if i am wrong, but i saw what could have been helmet to helmet from hightower on one of our corners, and no flag, the officials need to be on this from the get go no matter who we play or for real or a preseason game,also, the redskins first series looked very impressive except for no points at the end of it all,
    for the most part, the Steelers were probly wondering where they were in thi game, cause everyone looked lost, and the 4th quarter with Dixon, to his credit he was running for his life back there which brings me to this part, why put your qb out there like that with no run plays in the mix, if you are playing to win, then why do this to him, the entire redskins defense knwe he was gonna pass, pass, and pass some more,,, terrible coaching…

  2. David says:

    that last part was suppose to be, if you are not playing to win, then why put yout qb out there like that…. send in some runs for crying out loud….

  3. Ben says:

    Couldn’t agree more about the concern about Steeler cornerbacks. The Steelers have a collection of 3rd to 5th round draft picks at the position. It’s great that Ike turned out so well given where he was picked, but you can’t count on that happening. At some point you need to invest a first or even second round pick in a really talented young cornerback. What’s interesting is that the Steelers have brought in five or six rookie cornerbacks in the last few years – each worst then the next – and did the same thing again this year. Meanwhile, New England, the Jets and the Ravens have been investing in the first rounders at that position. One of the reasons the Steelers only allow 62 rush yards per game is that other teams are realizing they can pass at will against us – so why run. This is a chronic problem gone unfixed by Tomlin. What is it going to take?

  4. Jer says:

    OMG!!! Ummmm, David? Its the preseason… even for the officials, plus, in my 41 years of being alive I don’t think I’ve EVER seen an official call an offensive player for helmet to helmet.
    Secondly: OMG – QUIT CRYING! Are you aware that during the preseasond, coaches like to put players in the game to evaluate them. Winning, although nice, isn’t NEARLY as important knowing what your players can bring to the table, and what kind, and how much talent they have.
    These players are fighting for their jobs right now and Tomlin needs to know who is going to be able to perform. I would guess that that’s why Dixon was throwing so much.

  5. Bryan Ayer says:

    I find it funny that everyone is worried about the Steelers defense being spread out – as if that is the way to beat them. It also seems that most if not all point to the Super Bowl defeat as the rational for this. Overall the Steelers defense played well in the Super Bowl. Maybe if the offense hadn’t turned the ball over three times nobody would be worried about the defense being spread out. They lost by six points…one of Ben’s interceptions was returned for a touchdown. Also, I firmly believe that if Mendenhall hadn’t fumbled the ball, the Steelers would have won. They were running the ball down the throat of the Packers D, probably would have scored and continued running the ball to win the game. The Steelers are the best all around team in the league. Their weakest area is cornerback which is consistently put under a microscope cause there isn’t a lot else to pick at. So in closing, I am kind of tired of hearing about this crap.

  6. Jopa-n says:

    Nothing left to be said on the issue after Scott Brown’s analysis. Pretty much covered it from top to bottom. Now it’s just a question of if the the Steeler Brass is willing to accept the obvious and try to deal with it.

  7. Dante says:

    Finally someone said it. The cornerback situation is very scary. I fear any team making the playoffs that passes the ball a lot. The Steelers have almost no shot to stop a good passing game. If New England had beaten the Jets in the playoffs last year, the Steeler would have been blown out in the AFC championship game. They only won becaue the Jets run the ball. We have to hope for matchups against teams that run the ball because those are the only teams the Steelers can stop. McFadded & Gay are jokes, and the Steelers have not drafted corners high enough to help this weakness.

  8. David says:

    um Jer, you don’t go out and throw 10 passes in a row to the same side of the field, and in my 35 years of watching the nfl i haven’t seen an offense called for helmet to helmet either, but that being said, isn’t helmet to helmet still helmet to helmet, no matter what side of the ball its on, omg preseason is just that, but isn’t it a primer to the actual game, and that getting it right is just as important as it it is just going through the motions,, omg, get A life…..

  9. g money says:

    The Steelers conerback situation is not as bad as everyone thinks, the NFL has caught up with the system. If they go more man to man and not back off 12 yards you’ll see a difference. Hell Revis could play in that system and look average. Stop headlining the linebackers and play a complete defense. The west coast offense is based on timing patterns if the corner is 12 yards deep at the snap then 7 yards is open. It don’t take a genius to figure that out.

  10. nitty says:

    Any word on Donovan Warren, coming out of camp, saw that he got in the game pretty early. Kid came out of Michigan last year as a junior, ran a terrible 40 at the combine and went undrafted. Before his terrible showing at the combine, some had him projected as a 1st rounder.

  11. DLS says:

    Every year we enter the season with a glaring weakness, that eveyone acknowledges except the Steelers. Why is that? For the last 4 years it has been the offensive line, now it’s the CBs , not that the line is the 83 Redskins, but I think this is our best group since 05, I don’t understand why we didn’t bring in some CBs for a look, or maybe actually get a little aggressive and make a trade for one, Macfadden and Gay are not starters and we all no that, we need some speed at corner , we have for awhile, if one of the draft picks don’t step up, we are in trouble.

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