View Full Version : Steelers DB Victorian, Van Dyke ready for more

12-15-2012, 02:14 AM
Steelers DB Victorian, Van Dyke ready for more

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/football/nfl/wires/12/14/2020.ap.fbn.steelers.young.dbs.1st.ld.writethru.10 02/index.html

PITTSBURGH (AP) - As the veteran member of the Pittsburgh Steelers' otherwise-youthful cornerbacks, Ike Taylor enjoys being among the first- and second-year players at his position meetings.
"I feel like they keep my young,'' Taylor said. "Especially with the new young music coming up, the clothes, shoes, all that kind of stuff.''
This week, it's much more than music or fashion trends that have Taylor appreciating players such as Josh Victorian, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Curtis Brown and Robert Golden.
With Taylor sidelined with a fractured right ankle and top reserve Cortez Allen likely out with a groin injury, the likes of Victorian and Van Dyke are thrust into prominent roles.
Picked up late in training camp, neither was even active for games as recently as two weeks ago. But as the Steelers (7-6) head into Dallas (7-6), they'll be counting on the inexperienced cornerbacks to deal with the Cowboys' talented receivers.
"We tried to teach these young players like they are going to be starting because we know someday, they will be starting,'' Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. "Unfortunately, we got a couple hits at the same spot. Generally speaking, throughout the course of a season, this happens every year. It's not a surprise that some of these guys are going to be starting and taking a significant amount of snaps. Hopefully they will be prepared and answer the challenge.''
The results were mixed in this past Sunday's game, the first without Taylor for the Steelers since 2006. Allen made his first career start, and fellow second-year pro Brown also was bumped up the depth chart to play in nickel packages.
Repeatedly picking on Brown and Allen, Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes and was 12-for-18 when passing on third down with eight of those completions going to receivers that either Brown or Allen was covering.
That led to coach Mike Tomlin benching Brown in favor of Victorian, who had been cut off the practice squad the week prior.
While acknowledging that was "a big step,'' Victorian said he never doubted his abilities - not when he was cut five times by four teams in a 14-month span, and not when he was beat by Danario Alexander for a touchdown on one of his first plays in his first NFL regular-season game Sunday.
"To play corner not only on this team but in this league, you have to have confidence,'' the 5-foot-10 Victorian said. "Coming up I wasn't always as big as everybody, so confidence is something that has been building in me since I was a young kid. I think I'm pretty confident now.''
Van Dyke was confident he was going to be drafted by the Steelers in 2011 after speaking multiple times with Tomlin. Instead, Oakland plucked him in the third round with the 81st pick, leaving Pittsburgh with Brown at No. 95 and Allen at No. 128.
Van Dyke started four of 14 games for the Raiders as a rookie last season but was cut at the end of this past training camp. The Steelers were happy to scoop him up but limited him to special teams during the first half of the season.
But multiple penalties that negated returns led to Tomlin deactivating Van Dyke five times in a six-game span before he was needed against the Chargers because of Taylor's injury.
"It's always good to put your hand in the pile, as coach Tomlin always says,'' Van Dyke said. "I just have to go out and make plays and help my team win this game, do what coach LeBeau and coach Tomlin want me to do.''
During practice Friday, Victorian and Brown were the top two corners to play after Keenan Lewis, a first-year starter who himself fought through a minor hip injury this week. Golden, an undrafted rookie safety, also was given reps in nickel packages.
The Steelers secondary will depend upon to help deal with Dallas' Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten, who all are on pace to have 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Between them, Victorian, Van Dyke, Brown and Golden have combined for four NFL starts.
"We will need every one of them, without a doubt,'' LeBeau said. "They will all be playing.
"Hopefully, we have some quality depth. It's a challenge for us.''
Notes: LB LaMarr Woodley made it through an entire week of practice without setback or incident after missing the past two-and-a-half games due to an ankle injury. He is listed as probable to play Sunday. ... An apparent stomach virus is making its way through the Steelers locker room. LB James Harrison missed practice Wednesday and Thursday due to illness, and WR Antonio Brown, WR Plaxico Burress, reserve LB Stevenon Sylvester and LS Greg Warren were among those who were affected by it Friday.

12-15-2012, 02:30 AM
Steelers secondary concerns turn into prime issueDecember 15, 2012 12:03 am
Matt Freed/Post-Gazette
The Chargers' Danario Alexander pulls down a touchdown against the Josh Victorian in the fourth quarter Sunday at Heinz Field.

By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Under normal circumstances, Steelers safety Ryan Clark said he would have taken a couple of days off this week to rest his sore midsection.

But the Steelers secondary has been ravaged by injuries recently, and Clark said Thursday he felt like he had to practice because the young cornerbacks who will play Sunday against Dallas needed guidance as they prepared to face the Cowboys.

Josh Victorian and Robert Golden are not household names, even among the most die-hard of Steelers fans, but they will be on center stage against quarterback Tony Romo and wider receiver Dez Bryant because two of the team's top three cornerbacks are injured.

The Steelers will be without starting cornerback Ike Taylor for a second consecutive week because of a leg injury. Cortez Allen, his replacement, likely will miss the game because of a groin injury. Allen did not practice all week and is listed as doubtful.

The injuries mean either Victorian or second-year player Curtis Brown will make his first NFL start with Golden or DeMarcus VanDyke playing in the nickel package.

"I don't know if it changes my role, but it magnifies it a little bit," Clark said. "I just need to be deep and be very vocal as far as communicating to those guys and helping them understand what the offense may be trying to do to attack us and what we need to do as a defense in each and every call. For me, it's a situation where I need to be protective of those guys and help them out as much as possible."

Brown, a second-year player from Texas, moved into the role of third cornerback Sunday against the Chargers, but he was ineffective and Victorian replaced him in the second half.

Victorian, signed to the active roster a few days before the Chargers game, appears to be the player defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has identified as his top choice to replace Allen in the starting lineup.

"He made a play, and I thought he knew his assignments well," LeBeau said of Victorian's performance against the Chargers. "We've had him since training camp, and he's always impressed us as a playmaker. I think he'll make a good account of himself in there."

Victorian was signed to the practice squad in August after spending last season on the practice squads of the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots. He was with the New Orleans Saints briefly in the spring before being invited to training camp with the Steelers.

"Sunday is a great opportunity not only for me but for our entire young secondary group to show that we can play," said Victorian, who played at Louisiana Tech. "I think it will be great for us."

Golden has been on the active roster longer than Victorian, but he hasn't played a snap on defense all season. Golden, a rookie from the University of Arizona, made the team because of his ability to play cornerback and safety. That versatility is something the coaches would like to utilize against Dallas.

"I just have to be ready for wherever they want to put me in," Golden said. "I can play nickel, I play corner and I also play safety. When they call my number, I just need to be ready to go out there and perform. I feel like I had a great week of preparation. I just want to go out there and play well for the team."

The Cowboys have won three of their past four games to get back into the NFC playoff picture. They made their surge behind a passing attack that is third in the NFL in passing yards per game (292). Romo has thrown seven touchdown passes in the past three games.

Even though his young players don't have a lot of game experience, LeBeau is hopeful they can step in and help the team.

"We try to develop the depth at every position," LeBeau said. "We try to teach these young players like they're going to be starting because we know someday they will be starting. Unfortunately, we have a couple of hits at the same spot this week. Generally speaking, throughout the course of the season this happens, so it's not a surprise that some of these guys will be starting and taking a significant amount of snaps. Hopefully, they'll be prepared and answer the challenge.

"We have some quality depth there. It's a challenge for us. One thing is for sure, they're not going to cancel the game. We think we have a plan. We have some people, and they'll have to step in there and pick it up. The game is still tackling, keying and knocking down passes. We're going to show up. We know we have a challenge, but I feel these young guys will make a good account of themselves."

NOTES -- Outside linebacker James Harrison returned to practice after missing two days with an illness and is listed as probable. ... Three other players missed practice Friday with illnesses -- wide receiver Antonio Brown, inside linebacker Stevenson Sylvester and long snapper Greg Warren. All three were listed as probable. ... The three players who are out for the game are offensive tackle Mike Adams, offensive guard Willie Colon and cornerback Ike Taylor.

12-15-2012, 05:44 AM
The Steelers O will need to put up 35 to keep us competitive.

12-15-2012, 09:18 AM
Vicky and the Dyke
Will Shut Em Down, Shut Em Down
Shut, Shut, Shut Em Down.

12-15-2012, 12:19 PM
Vicky and the Dyke
Will Shut Em Down, Shut Em Down
Shut, Shut, Shut Em Down.

Not quite haiku
but it will have to do

12-16-2012, 01:51 PM
Clark basically needs to have the game of his life today. How did DB go from a position of strength to a position of weakness so fast?

Va Steelr
12-16-2012, 05:19 PM
i trust flip's wisdom !!!

12-16-2012, 06:41 PM
Clark basically needs to have the game of his life today. How did DB go from a position of strength to a position of weakness so fast?

losing 2 of your top 3 CBs to injury will do that to you...

12-16-2012, 10:39 PM
Victorian should be cut tonight. He's not even close to being an NFL caliber player. He was the worst player in uniform on either team today. Can't cover, can't tackle and the cushion he gives on every play is ridiculous. I mean, damn he's bad.

12-16-2012, 10:40 PM
Golden is far better.

12-16-2012, 10:51 PM
I would write of Victorian's tackling, if it existed.

SS Laser
12-16-2012, 11:08 PM
Yep at this point they belong on the PS.:eek: Not sure who will try to be CB's though?

12-17-2012, 01:17 AM
Victorian should be cut tonight. He's not even close to being an NFL caliber player. He was the worst player in uniform on either team today. Can't cover, can't tackle and the cushion he gives on every play is ridiculous. I mean, damn he's bad.

there's a reason why we cut him before and just shows you the level of desperation we have for Victorian to actually be playing as much as he did today against the Cowgirls...

12-17-2012, 01:56 AM
I really can't say I was too disappointed with the way Victorian stepped in and played today considering where he was 4 weeks ago. We can't expect too much from the kid and he actually made a couple of nice plays today. He didn't play any worse than Keenan did on the TD to Bryant. The losses in the secondary at CB has cost this team dearly the last two weeks but yet if the veterans on this team step up the way they should we should be sitting @ 9-5 right now in first place in the AFC North. Did anyone notice how the Chargers played today? Wow, really? That's the team we lost to last week? What a shame?