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hawaiiansteel
03-09-2011, 02:51 PM
Lake May Be Just What Keenan Lewis Needs To Turn The Corner & Become A Corner

http://www.donnan.com/images/TC09_Keenan-Lewis.jpg

The Steelers named Carnell Lake as their new defensive backs coach on Monday and it looks like a solid hire from the outside. I documented the job Lake did in his one season coaching the UCLA defensive backs last week and Lake certainly has the resume as a former player. Lake played both safety and cornerback for the Steelers and played under D!ck LeBeau as well, so he knows the basics of the defensive scheme.

One of the biggest projects that Lake will have as the new secondary coach will be 3rd year cornerback Keenan Lewis. Lewis, who was drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft, looked to be turning the corner slowly coming out of training camp and started at left cornerback in place of Bryant McFadden in the 3rd preseason game of 2010 as McFadden was nursing a hamstring injury. On just the second offensive play of the game, Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton hit receiver Eddie Royal with a pass to the short right for 18 yards and Lewis promptly tackled Royal out of bounds for 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty. Lewis was picked on pretty regularly early in that game as he faced the likes of Royal, Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney. A few times his technique looked awful and it all came to a head with 4:45 left in the first half when Orton hit Lloyd with an 8 yard pass on the right side and Lewis was once again flagged 15 yards after he made the tackle. His frustration was very evident and head coach Mike Tomlin promptly yanked Lewis from the game. After the game, Lewis punched a sign that was encased in glass on his way to the locker room sending glass everywhere. This further infuriated Tomlin and he said afterwards that the young cornerback "stunk it up" in Denver.

Lewis played the following week against the Panthers and looked only pedestrian in the final preseason game. At that point it was clear he had lost his opportunity to overtake McFadden as the starter and pretty much remained in the Tomlin doghouse for most of the season from that point on. From then on out, when active on game days, Lewis saw most of his action on special teams where he recorded 7 tackles, but also tallied 3 penalties. He did not see snaps on the defensive side of the ball until the blow-out win against the Raiders in week 11 where he saw just 10 snaps. Against the Bills in week 12, Lewis saw just 3 snaps on defense and registered a pass interference call at the goal-line early in 4th quarter. Luckily the defense held and the Bills settled for just a field goal. Lewis played again late in the blow-out versus the Browns in the season finale logging 26 snaps on defense and ended 2010 with just 4 snaps on defense against the Packers in Super Bowl XLV. In total, Lewis played just 43 snaps on defense in 2010, and was credited with just a handful of tackles.

Lewis is deemed a bright kid as he excelled off the football field by earning Academic All-Pac 10 Conference honors as a senior while at Oregon State. He was placed on injured reserve with a back injury during his rookie season with the Steelers and that missed playing time might have been crucial in his development. After he was drafted, then secondary coach Ray Horton compared him to fellow Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor. Horton regarded him as a bump and run guy that could take away people at the line of scrimmage. Horton also noted he could be a swing guy at safety as well if needed. Lewis measured in at almost 6 foot 1 and 195 pounds at the combine in 2009 and is similar in build to his new coach, Lake. As of right now though, that is where the similarities end. Lake showed he can work with the younger kids while at UCLA and will likely need to start Lewis over with the basics. Luckily Lewis is still young and should mesh well with Lake. The two can get a fresh start together starting immediately.

Not only does Lewis have some technique issues, he seems to not yet grasp hold of the mental aspect of the game. He needs to learn to put bad plays behind him and focus better. It seems he might actually be trying too hard and that is certainly forgivable. He also might be trying to quickly catch up with the success of his good friend Mike Wallace, a long time friend from back home in Louisiana. Lake will in essence need to build Lewis in his own mold from his feet to his head. Lewis enters the final year of his rookie contract in 2011 and the Steelers will certainly give him every chance possible to win a starting outside corner spot. Should Taylor leave via free agency, Lewis will certainly be expected to step in a starting spot. In addition to Taylor possibly not being back, nickel corner William Gay is slated to be an unrestricted free agent as well, so there is no guarantee he will return in 2011 either. Should both Taylor and Gay both end up elsewhere in 2011, that would leave the Steelers with just McFadden and 2010 draft pick Crezdon Butler as the returning cornerbacks on the roster from 2010. Butler never saw the field as a rookie on defense and McFadden was inconsistent and had problems staying healthy.

In closing, 2011 will be now or never for Keenan and Lake should be a breath of fresh air for him. They say if you want to be the best, you need to learn from the best and Lake certainly is in that talk. Can he turn Keenan around and make him in his image? Time, as they say, will tell and the clock is already ticking on that time.

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2011/03/la ... -a-corner/ (http://www.steelersdepot.com/2011/03/lake-may-be-just-what-keenan-lewis-needs-to-turn-the-corner-become-a-corner/)

Oviedo
03-09-2011, 03:07 PM
They cut the better CB whren they let Joe Burnett go. They got caught up in "the look" of a Steelers CB that Lewis has. I don't see Lewis any different than a younger version of Bmac. Good against the run but can't make a play in the passing game.

steelblood
03-09-2011, 03:47 PM
They cut the better CB whren they let Joe Burnett go. They got caught up in "the look" of a Steelers CB that Lewis has. I don't see Lewis any different than a younger version of Bmac. Good against the run but can't make a play in the passing game.

You could very well be right that they cut the wrong guy in Joe Burnett. However, it is a little unfair to say that they cut Burnett because he didn't fit a "look." We really don't have any idea why they cut him. There could be a myriad of reasons from character to practice habits to free lancing, etc.

steelz09
03-09-2011, 05:26 PM
They should let Gay walk. People rip on McFadden but Gay showed in 2009 that he will get dominated as a #2. He confirmed that in 2010-11 when he got dominated in the Super Bowl after McFadden got hurt.

They should sign Ike. After that, the worst case scenario is McFadden is the #2 again. Hopefully Butler, Lewis and a rookie will challenge McFadden for the starting role.

The problem I have with Lewis is his mistakes just as the article pointed out.

Eddie Spaghetti
03-09-2011, 05:28 PM
i find it fascinating that a poster on this board bard knows the mindset of the steeler coaching staff and why they cut people. didn't fit "the look". :roll:

also still wondering how a pro-bowl CB like joe freaking burnett can sit in street clothes for an ENTIRE year. how is that possible???

or is someone just a little butthurt because their pet didn't pan out? hmmmm.

Oviedo
03-09-2011, 05:30 PM
i find it fascinating that a poster on this board bard knows the mindset of the steeler coaching staff and why they cut people. didn't fit "the look". :roll:

also still wondering how a pro-bowl CB like joe freaking burnett can sit in street clothes for an ENTIRE year. how is that possible???

or is someone just a little butthurt because their pet didn't pan out? hmmmm.

What took you so long. I was starting to feel ignored. My butt is fine that's for asking but that does concern me.

As far as sitting for a year, didn't Lewis and Butler do essentially the same thing???????

Eddie Spaghetti
03-09-2011, 05:33 PM
butler and lewis were employed Ovi.

big difference.

there is just no basis in fact for you to keep repeating burnett is better than lewis, butler, gay, etc.

Chadman
03-09-2011, 05:44 PM
Funny old season for Keenan Lewis. In pre-season he looked like he might get a starting gig, got picked on in one game & was, essentially, done for the year as a result.

Some bone-headed penalties put him on the outer- but the article might be right- it looks like it comes from frustration & trying too hard more than a lack of ability.

Hopefully, for the Steelers sake, Lewis can get it together. If so, he's a talented prospect. And in a position where the Steelers need some talented prospects. Chadman has read about the cut of Joe Burnett & how the Steelers got it wrong. That being said, maybe it says more about the ability the coaching staff see in Lewis?

ikestops85
03-09-2011, 05:46 PM
butler and lewis were employed Ovi.

big difference.

there is just no basis in fact for you to keep repeating burnett is better than lewis, butler, gay, etc.

His play on the field was certainly better than Lewis. We don't know whether he would be a pro bowler but it would have been nice to see him get a chance. He seemed to have good instincts jumping routes and maybe, just maybe, he could have been someone other than Troy who could make some splash plays from the secondary.

Gay hasn't been able to do that. Lewis hasn't shown any inclination that he has a clue what he is doing on the field except for committing personal fouls. I hope Butler gets a chance this season. He seems to have done well in practice but they haven't been willing to use him in a game. That's also what I had hoped for Burnett.

Oviedo
03-09-2011, 05:48 PM
butler and lewis were employed Ovi.

big difference.

there is just no basis in fact for you to keep repeating burnett is better than lewis, butler, gay, etc.

His play on the field was certainly better than Lewis. We don't know whether he would be a pro bowler but it would have been nice to see him get a chance. He seemed to have good instincts jumping routes and maybe, just maybe, he could have been someone other than Troy who could make some splash plays from the secondary.

Gay hasn't been able to do that. Lewis hasn't shown any inclination that he has a clue what he is doing on the field except for committing personal fouls. I hope Butler gets a chance this season. He seems to have done well in practice but they haven't been willing to use him in a game. That's also what I had hoped for Burnett.

:Agree

feltdizz
03-09-2011, 07:00 PM
butler and lewis were employed Ovi.

big difference.

there is just no basis in fact for you to keep repeating burnett is better than lewis, butler, gay, etc.

I sure wish there was some proof they were better... 8)

Oviedo
03-09-2011, 10:04 PM
butler and lewis were employed Ovi.

big difference.

there is just no basis in fact for you to keep repeating burnett is better than lewis, butler, gay, etc.

I sure wish there was some proof they were better... 8)

Sure haven't seen any evidence standing on the sideline.

Eddie Spaghetti
03-09-2011, 10:12 PM
i will trust the coaches who watch all of these players in practive everyday over some guy on a message board.

thats just me.

tell us again how maurkice pouncey will be a terrible pro.

lol.

RuthlessBurgher
03-09-2011, 11:29 PM
I want to know in the ongoing Oviedo-Eddie Spaghetti feud, which one plays the Crash role and which one plays the Steelers43 role? You guys need to step up the vitriol and start going on 12 page rants against each other if you want this virtual donnybrook to be taken seriously. :wink:

Crash
03-09-2011, 11:34 PM
Here's how their conversation will go:

Lake: Keenan, keep everything in front of you. Don't give up the big play behind you.

Lewis: Yes, sir.

hawaiiansteel
03-10-2011, 12:16 AM
i will trust the coaches who watch all of these players in practive everyday

me too. even though I am a friggen coaching genius when I sit on my couch on Sundays I will admit that Mike Tomlin and his coaching staff are better at evaluating talent than I am since they get to see the players everyday in practice and I don't.

RuthlessBurgher
03-10-2011, 12:18 AM
i will trust the coaches who watch all of these players in practive everyday

me too. even though I am a friggen coaching genius when I sit on my couch on Sundays I will admit that Mike Tomlin and his coaching staff are better at evaluating talent than I am since they get to see the players everyday in practice and I don't.

You should get yourself a placard that proclaims you to be a "Friggen Coaching Genius."

That would rule. :Beer

Oviedo
03-10-2011, 11:49 AM
I want to know in the ongoing Oviedo-Eddie Spaghetti feud, which one plays the Crash role and which one plays the Steelers43 role? You guys need to step up the vitriol and start going on 12 page rants against each other if you want this virtual donnybrook to be taken seriously. :wink:

I'll pass. I keep my opinion and "pasta boy" can have his. I have no issue with him disagreeing at all. I'm totally OK with him jumping in and disagreeing with anything I post. That's what this is about.

I just honestly believe that from a playmaker and ability to cover standpoint Burnett is better than Lewis. Maybe he doesn't tackle as well which was the difference but Lewis isn't tackling anyone standing on the sideline.

To me Lewis= Bruce Davis

ikestops85
03-10-2011, 12:07 PM
I want to know in the ongoing Oviedo-Eddie Spaghetti feud, which one plays the Crash role and which one plays the Steelers43 role? You guys need to step up the vitriol and start going on 12 page rants against each other if you want this virtual donnybrook to be taken seriously. :wink:

I'll pass. I keep my opinion and "pasta boy" can have his. I have no issue with him disagreeing at all. I'm totally OK with him jumping in and disagreeing with anything I post. That's what this is about.

I just honestly believe that from a playmaker and ability to cover standpoint Burnett is better than Lewis. Maybe he doesn't tackle as well which was the difference but Lewis isn't tackling anyone standing on the sideline.

To me Lewis= Bruce Davis

Obviously the coaching staff had their reasons why they kept Lewis and got rid of Burnett. I feel it had more to do with off field issues and not his play on the field. Maybe he didn't pay attention in meetings or didn't study film or things of that nature. These are things we have no knowledge of.

But this is a message board which we all spout our opinions. I don't think anyone here feels they know more than the Steeler coaches but what fun would it be if we all just agreed with everything the team did. This gives us a chance to Monday morning QB everything and every once in a while we do get it right and have bragging rights. That's all.

Burnett was a playmaker in college and showed signs he might be one in the NFL. The coaches feel differently. I also don't think Anthony Madison should ever see the field for a defensive play but they don't listen to me on that either. That's all ... end of story.

Oviedo
03-10-2011, 12:11 PM
I want to know in the ongoing Oviedo-Eddie Spaghetti feud, which one plays the Crash role and which one plays the Steelers43 role? You guys need to step up the vitriol and start going on 12 page rants against each other if you want this virtual donnybrook to be taken seriously. :wink:

I'll pass. I keep my opinion and "pasta boy" can have his. I have no issue with him disagreeing at all. I'm totally OK with him jumping in and disagreeing with anything I post. That's what this is about.

I just honestly believe that from a playmaker and ability to cover standpoint Burnett is better than Lewis. Maybe he doesn't tackle as well which was the difference but Lewis isn't tackling anyone standing on the sideline.

To me Lewis= Bruce Davis

Obviously the coaching staff had their reasons why they kept Lewis and got rid of Burnett. I feel it had more to do with off field issues and not his play on the field. Maybe he didn't pay attention in meetings or didn't study film or things of that nature. These are things we have no knowledge of.

But this is a message board which we all spout our opinions. I don't think anyone here feels they know more than the Steeler coaches but what fun would it be if we all just agreed with everything the team did. This gives us a chance to Monday morning QB everything and every once in a while we do get it right and have bragging rights. That's all.

Burnett was a playmaker in college and showed signs he might be one in the NFL. The coaches feel differently. I also don't think Anthony Madison should ever see the field for a defensive play but they don't listen to me on that either. That's all ... end of story.

Ditto on Madison. The guy should have a shock collar on that goes off if he steps on the field. He is horrible as a DB.

RuthlessBurgher
03-10-2011, 12:51 PM
Neither Lewis nor Burnett set the world on fire. I think the difference is that, if the lightbulb ever turned on, Lewis could potentially be a starting corner, while Burnett could have been a nickel back.

Eddie Spaghetti
03-10-2011, 01:16 PM
ruthless nailed it.

burnett was nothing special.

hawaiiansteel
03-16-2011, 06:54 PM
Lake no stranger to system

By Bob Labriola - Steelers Digest

http://www.steelers.com/assets/images/imported/PIT/photos/article/2011_Lake_Inter_002.jpg

Carnell Lake played the defensive system he now will coach.

He had been the rare linebacker in college who happened to have enough intelligence and athletic ability to switch to strong safety in the NFL and make the Pro Bowl within six seasons. But here he was, the AFC’s incumbent Pro Bowl strong safety, lined up at cornerback across from Carl Pickens, a tall, fast, athletic wide receiver who was in the process of following up an 1,100-yard, 11-touchdown season with a 1,200-yard, 17-touchdown season. Oh, and the game where he found himself staring down Carl Pickens was a division game on the road, one his team absolutely had to have.

It was 1995, and the Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves at this point because their one starting cornerback – Deon Figures – had been shot in the knee during the offseason and still was trying to get back to what he had been, and their other starter – All-Pro Rod Woodson – had torn his ACL on the first third-down of the opener. Rookie Willie Williams was thrust into the starting lineup and was holding his own on one side, but a sub-par Figures plus Alvoid Mays plus Randy Fuller plus Chris Oldham wasn’t working out on the opposite side.

“What I remember is feeling just really frustrated during the first seven games of that season,” said Carnell Lake. “We had the makings of a great team, and then in the first game our premier cornerback goes down. How difficult is that going to be, and it turned out to be very difficult because our record at the time was 3-4. I thought it was going to turn out to be maybe my worst with the Steelers. Dick LeBeau called me early in the week of our bye, and he said, ‘Carnell, I’d like to ask if you’d be willing to move to cornerback.’ I was expecting him to say something along the lines of, ‘Hey, we’re going to have some different blitz schemes.’

“I was stunned. ‘You’re going to move me where? You want me to play what?’ He said, ‘Just think about it.’”

Carnell Lake being Carnell Lake, he reported to work early the next day, and LeBeau, then the Steelers secondary coach on a staff put together by Bill Cowher that included Dom Capers as the defensive coordinator and Marvin Lewis as linebackers coach, began the tutorial. As Lake said, “What better coach is there to teach you cornerback than D!ck LeBeau?”

The first few games with Lake at cornerback had gone reasonably well, and the Steelers had climbed from 3-4 to 6-4. But then came a game against a Bengals team that had defeated the Steelers earlier that season at Three Rivers Stadium, and so it was that Lake found himself in Pickens’ crosshairs.

“And Carl Pickens had his way with me,” said Lake. “I was on the bench in the dumps, really, and Bill Cowher came up to me and said, ‘You know, good cornerbacks have to have short memories.’ That’s all he said, and he walked away. That was the turning point for me.”

Pickens finished with eight catches for 129 yards and a touchdown, but the Steelers won the game, and the team would go on to win the division and represent the AFC in Super Bowl XXX, and none of that bhappens without Carnell Lake stepping up and solidifying the team at cornerback. And that particular day in Cincinnati will be one of the things Carnell Lake calls upon in his new job as the Steelers secondary coach.
* * *
Lake was hired in early March to replace Ray Horton, who left to become the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive coordinator, and if he is a neophyte to the coaching business he does have a considerable understanding of the basics of the defense he will be teaching.

As a second-round pick of the Steelers in 1989, Lake arrived here at the end of Chuck Noll’s 23-season tenure. During his rookie season the team’s defensive coordinator was Rod Rust, and when Rust left in 1990 to become the head coach of the New England Patriots, Noll hired Dave Brazil, a Rust disciple, to continue coordinating the same system. It was when Noll retired after the 1991 season that Dan Rooney hired Cowher.

“Rod Rust’s defense was in part a match-zone defense,” said Lake. “If a receiver or another offensive player came through your zone, you kind of played him man-to-man until he left your zone. If you didn’t have anyone in your zone, you looked to find somebody close to your zone and match-up.

“So when Dom Capers and D!ck LeBeau came to Pittsburgh (in 1992), the fire-zone concept was not that foreign to us. We kind of latched onto that rather easily because it made sense from what Rod Rust’s general principles were. It didn’t seem that difficult to us, and it was exciting to me because this was one of the first times that I really got to be active in the rush. And being active in the rush brought back memories for me of being a linebacker at UCLA. That seemed really natural to me.”

One of the early innovations unveiled by the 1992 Steelers was an alignment designed to combat what was then the league’s most potent offense – the run-and-shoot operated by the Houston Oilers. And since the Oilers were in the same AFC Central Division as the Steelers, Cowher understood that nothing could be accomplished until the Steelers defense could deal with Houston quarterback Warren Moon and his stable of receivers.

Starting in 1992, the Steelers’ primary alignment against the Oilers, and in passing situations vs. other opponents, had Lake and Woodson lined up close to the line of scrimmage, just to the outside of the edge pass rushers – Greg Lloyd and, starting in 1993, Kevin Greene. There, they were in position to cover the slot receivers, or in the case of games against the Oilers, come in clean on Moon, who was in the shotgun with the one running back at his side facing the every-down question of: who is coming, and from where?

“It made our positions more exciting, Rod and myself, because we were inside and we got to be a part of the front seven, per se, and we also got to play man-to-man, we got to play zone, we played zone like man-to-man,” said Lake. “For me personally, it made me a more versatile player. Instead of just being a cover-2 safety of the past – playing run-support against the run, things like that – I was transformed to a new kind of position in 1992. They asked me to play man-to-man, I was blitzing, I played it all, and it was exciting.”

It was exciting for Lake but painful for Moon, and the run-and-shoot first faded from the spotlight as it came to be known as the chuck-and-duck, and then it disappeared from the NFL altogether.

Just think about it for a minute: In the early 1990s Lake was a versatile safety used against the run, as a pass rusher, as a cover guy, and was put in situations designed to allow him to make big plays. Sound like anybody else?

Troy Polamalu, maybe?

Carnell Lake was the prototype for what Troy Polamalu is today.

“When I look at the things they ask Troy to do – and obviously they haven’t asked him to play cornerback – it’s very similar to what I did,” said Lake. “Troy, I think over time has developed a trust in the coaching staff to allow him to freelance more than I was able to, and he’s making plays. I really agree with that. I never want to take away a player’s instinctual ability.”

And that’s just one of the philosophies Lake will bring from his outstanding playing career as he begins his new career as the Steelers secondary coach.

“For the most part, it’s about having confidence in your play,” said Lake. “From my experience, a lot of players – whether they’re cornerbacks or safeties – confidence affects every part of your game. It affects your technique, it affects your aggressiveness, it affects your judgment. So if I can instill confidence in my players and help them to believe in their skills, I think they’re going to be better. And they’re not bad now.”

http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/ ... 7170f7d13f (http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Lake-no-stranger-to-system/2e5073ab-d797-4962-ab86-d87170f7d13f)