Steelers free agent safety Will Allen addressed
the media following his exit interview
Q: This is a little early for season-ending interviews?
A: “Absolutely. I still feel like I have to get ready for this week. It is very weird. I am kind of at a loss for words. I think we missed out on a lot of opportunities this year. We had some very strong points and some very low points as well. We just have to evaluate and get better this offseason. We have to really press hard and come together as a team so we can face those adverse situations better, those critical moments in games that we didn’t execute.”
Q: Can you look back at specifically at your season?
A: “I still think it is a little early. Obviously, the coaches believed in me and I was able to help the team the best way I could but that is what I am here for – to help the team win and help the team the best that I can. I just thankful for the opportunity. Still, there are many, many ways I can get better, that this team can get better. I don’t think that is a cliché. We have to get better in critical moments of the game.”
Q: What are your thoughts coming back next year?
A: “We will see what free agency holds. I am not sure what will happen. I am just open right now to see what will happen. The Steelers organization is a great place. I really enjoyed my time here. I enjoyed the team. It was a lot of fun. I like to compete here. I love the fans. It is a hard place to leave. Even if they let you go it is a hard place to leave. When March comes we will be sitting back and think about what decision to make.”
Q: How much have you seen Keenan Lewis develop this year?
A: “I think he has built a lot of confidence. He is playing the ball a lot better. He has gotten better in his press technique. Again, we all can get better. The whole thing about corner is confidence. All those guys are elite athletes, the best athletes on the field. He is tall, he is long, he is fast. He has all the tangible things to be a great corner. He can get better just as well all can.”
Q: Has improved corner play been a big stepping stone for this defense this year?
A: “Absolutely. Ike Taylor is one of the top corners in the league, probably top three, in my opinion. I don’t think a lot of people give him his just due. You can’t look at a time where he has given up a deep ball this year. You can’t look at a time where he gave up one last year. To be that consistent is difficult. He has hardly even given up 12-yard routes. Ike has been tremendous for us. He helps us out a lot. He helps the pass rush out and Keenan just follows his lead. Together, those two guys healthy, make our secondary and our defense great.”
Q: Are the interceptions the only thing missing?
A: “I think the turnovers, in general, were missing. We didn’t make enough. We didn’t make enough at all. We started getting them later in the season, and that helped our offense be more opportunistic. So, next year, I think we need to focus on that from day one. To have the No. 1 defense and the No. 1 pass defense for two consecutive years is tremendous. I just think that we need to get our turnover ratio up.”
Q: You are talking like you are going to be a part of the team next year
A: “Again, it’s very hard to let go once you’ve been here. So, I don’t really know what will happen, but we’ll go to March and see what happens. I want to talk like I’ll be here, because I love it here. I love playing here, and I love playing for Coach Tomlin. So, we’ll see what happens.”
Q: You talk to Larry Foote who left and ended up coming back?
A: “Well, I know what it’s like to be somewhere else, because I played six years in Tampa. There were some good years, but there were some horrible years there. So, I know what it’s like to play for a great organization, too, here in Pittsburgh. So, to leave here would be horrible. But that’s the nature of the business, at times.”
Q: Secondary improvement have anything to do with Carnell Lake?
A: “He’s a former player here, and he’s a very intelligent man. He prepares each player for what’s to come. He prepares the group very well, and he believes a lot in technique. He doesn’t necessarily harp on defensive schematics, but he works us hard on technique. So, that helps us tremendously. You can see that in our corner play along, over the years, and how much it has improved. The level has been a lot improved. The same with the safety, covering, tackling, more attention to details. He stresses that stuff all the time.”
Q: Him playing safety and cornerback help his coaching?
A: “His wisdom of the game and his mentality. He’s a tough guy and a tough man. He hardly says anything, but he’s a tough guy. He’s a competitor, and he exudes that throughout the room.”