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fordfixer
12-30-2012, 11:39 PM
Steelers' Allen could have bright future
http://www.profootballweekly.com/2012/12/28/steelers-allen-could-have-bright-future
Posted Dec. 28, 2012 @ 10:08 p.m. ET


By Mike Wilkening
Two days before the Steelers’ season finale, CB Cortez Allen was asked what he would take away from his second NFL campaign.


“I still have a lot of growing to do,” Allen said. “ … There’s still so much to learn.”


More improvement from Allen would be an exciting prospect for the Steelers considering the promise he has shown in 2012.


Allen’s potential was on full display in the Week 16 loss to Cincinnati, when he had a hand in all three Bengals turnovers. He twice intercepted Bengals QB Andy Dalton, and he forced an A.J. Green fumble recovered by S Ryan Clark in Pittsburgh territory. The interceptions were the first of the 24-year-old Allen’s NFL career. Allen shared credit for the takeaways with his teammates, saying that the defense’s collective play “enabled me to make the plays I did.’


Improved technique will be a focus of Allen’s offseason workouts. He figures to be no worse than the Steelers’ third cornerback in 2013, and a starting spot is quite possible, especially if Keenan Lewis departs in free agency.


We may look back and see 2012 as a “bridge” season of sorts for Allen, a campaign where he showed he could be a consistent contributor for an older defense that will need its younger players to continue to step forward.


“I do feel like I’ve progressed a little each week,” Allen said.

Chucktownsteeler
12-31-2012, 12:13 AM
I like Cortez a lot. Hope we bring back Keenan as well.

Snatch98
12-31-2012, 01:04 AM
I like Cortez a lot. Hope we bring back Keenan as well.

Same. They're the future of our defensive secondary.

Chadman
12-31-2012, 01:46 AM
The future could be now if Lewis gets a decent offer elsewhere.

Snatch98
12-31-2012, 02:03 AM
The future could be now if Lewis gets a decent offer elsewhere.

I think the Steelers offer him a nice contract and he stays, especially if they do the same with Wallace.

SS Laser
12-31-2012, 02:05 AM
The future could be now if Lewis gets a decent offer elsewhere.

Lewis looked like a young Ike this season 0 INT's. He should stick around for awhile like Ike I hope. Now Cortez looks like a playmaker better sign him up before he hits the open market in a couple years.

Mister Pittsburgh
12-31-2012, 08:24 AM
Not good that Gay finally became an NFL CB only to leave via FA, and now Lewis starts and looks good then becomes a FA, and now we are talking about Allen maybe being ready in year 3 if Lewis leaves.

does the CB's steep learning curve have anything to do with recognizing when they have no safety help by reading what Troy is up to? If so, I would rather our SS play SS and not a 5th LB at the LOS.

D Rock
12-31-2012, 09:18 AM
Not good that Gay finally became an NFL CB only to leave via FA, and now Lewis starts and looks good then becomes a FA, and now we are talking about Allen maybe being ready in year 3 if Lewis leaves.

does the CB's steep learning curve have anything to do with recognizing when they have no safety help by reading what Troy is up to? If so, I would rather our SS play SS and not a 5th LB at the LOS.


This team looked the most sound defensively with Troy out and everyone playing their roles. They also couldn't get a turnover to save their lives at that point.

It wasn't until the last couple weeks here that some turnovers happened. I'm wondering if that is because they all finally got used to playing with Troy and everything had finally come together.


I can never make my mind up on the role I want to see Troy playing for this defense.

NorthCoast
12-31-2012, 09:45 AM
Troy's interception while Cleveland was driving was a key momentum stopper.

Dee Dub
12-31-2012, 01:15 PM
I think the Steelers offer him a nice contract and he stays, especially if they do the same with Wallace.

I agree. The Steelers look as if they have two young corners who could be more than adequate as starters in Lewis and Allen. But for this to happen (signing Lewis), Ike Taylor is going to have to be released. And I think that is the best move...considering the amount over the cap the Steelers are and the fact that Ike will be 33 next season and on the downside of his career.

BradshawsHairdresser
12-31-2012, 01:25 PM
I agree. The Steelers look as if they have two young corners who could be more than adequate as starters in Lewis and Allen. But for this to happen (signing Lewis), Ike Taylor is going to have to be released. And I think that is the best move...considering the amount over the cap the Steelers are and the fact that Ike will be 33 next season and on the downside of his career.
What will be the cap implications if they release Ike?

phillyesq
12-31-2012, 01:54 PM
I really hope the Steelers find a way to keep Lewis, Ike and Allen. You need three good corners in today's NFL, especially considering that you'll usually have a corner get dinged up for a few games during the season.

If Lewis leaves or if Ike is cut, you have Lewis/Allen, which is an ok starting tandem, but no depth behind them. Victorian? Curtis Brown? Ugh.

Dee Dub
12-31-2012, 02:47 PM
What will be the cap implications if they release Ike?

I could be wrong but I thought it was BigRob that showed it would save about $6 million dollars if they cut him at some point in this off season.

D Rock
12-31-2012, 03:00 PM
I could be wrong but I thought it was BigRob that showed it would save about $6 million dollars if they cut him at some point in this off season.

http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers/ike-taylor/

He has cap numbers of just about 9.5M and 10.5M the next two years.

He has just under 3.5M in bonus money each of the next two years as well.

My understanding is that any bonus money owed is split over the remaining years if cut after June 1, so his cap hit would be 3.5M each of the next two years if that is the case, saving 6M this year and 7M next year.

Dee Dub
12-31-2012, 03:08 PM
http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers/ike-taylor/

He has cap numbers of just about 9.5M and 10.5M the next two years.

He has just under 3.5M in bonus money each of the next two years as well.

My understanding is that any bonus money owed is split over the remaining years if cut after June 1, so his cap hit would be 3.5M each of the next two years if that is the case, saving 6M this year and 7M next year.

Yes that is what I had thought too. Do you think this is the best way to go? Cutting him and allowing Allen to take his spot and trying to re-sigh Lewis? Ike is on the downside and will be 33.

D Rock
12-31-2012, 04:41 PM
Yes that is what I had thought too. Do you think this is the best way to go? Cutting him and allowing Allen to take his spot and trying to re-sigh Lewis? Ike is on the downside and will be 33.


Not yet. I think they need to wait on getting rid of Ike one more year if possible even with Lewis re-signed. That's not to say anything about Lewis and Allen, but more so about the depth behind them.

When looking at defensive vets to cut, I would have to look at Keisel first just because of the guys ready to go behind him. You've got a 1st round pick there, can't wait on him forever if you need cap space opened up.

DukieBoy
12-31-2012, 05:01 PM
I really hope the Steelers find a way to keep Lewis, Ike and Allen. You need three good corners in today's NFL, especially considering that you'll usually have a corner get dinged up for a few games during the season.

If Lewis leaves or if Ike is cut, you have Lewis/Allen, which is an ok starting tandem, but no depth behind them. Victorian? Curtis Brown? Ugh.

Agree strongly with phillyesq. Keep all three. Better to go with them and (written with sadness) let James go, and let Casey go. I'd rather keep the three DB's and go without Woodley if it weren't so cap-heavy to let him go. I'd rather see Worilds is Woodley's spot.

Shoe
12-31-2012, 05:26 PM
I like Cortez a lot. Hope we bring back Keenan as well.

I don't like him "a lot", but I do like him. Lewis too. (Curtis Brown flopped as a corner though. I'm convinced he is nothing more than a special teams maven, who I don't even like to have playing in dime defenses.

Ike/Keenan are both solid, #2 corners who did grow this year. Neither shows top-notch potential & big-play making ability.

Snatch98
12-31-2012, 05:29 PM
I don't like him "a lot", but I do like him. Lewis too. (Curtis Brown flopped as a corner though. I'm convinced he is nothing more than a special teams maven, who I don't even like to have playing in dime defenses.

Ike/Keenan are both solid, #2 corners who did grow this year. Neither shows top-notch potential & big-play making ability.

I totally disagree. Lewis showed #1 corner potential this season, especially before he got injured. Cortez also showed he's got the tools to make the big play. He goes up for the ball and challenges it every chance he gets and because of his size he does it a lot. He's only going to get better, the same can be said for Lewis. I'd also argue that Ike is a number 1 corner he just has terrible hands.

Dee Dub
12-31-2012, 05:53 PM
Agree strongly with phillyesq. Keep all three. Better to go with them and (written with sadness) let James go, and let Casey go. I'd rather keep the three DB's and go without Woodley if it weren't so cap-heavy to let him go. I'd rather see Worilds is Woodley's spot.

I think you guys are crazy. To keep Ike who is on the down side of his career, will be 33 next year, and who makes over $9 million dollars just to have depth when the Steelers are nearly $30 million over the cap is crazy.

D Rock
12-31-2012, 05:56 PM
I think you guys are crazy. To keep Ike who is on the down side of his career, will be 33 next year, and who makes over $9 million dollars just to have depth when the Steelers are nearly $30 million over the cap is crazy.


depth at corner isn't what it used to be. 3 CBs are starters now essentially. Cut Ike and there's a big whole to fill who is going to be in the game more often than not.

Snatch98
12-31-2012, 06:04 PM
I think you guys are crazy. To keep Ike who is on the down side of his career, will be 33 next year, and who makes over $9 million dollars just to have depth when the Steelers are nearly $30 million over the cap is crazy.

I think you'll see Ike restructure.

winwithd
12-31-2012, 06:27 PM
depth at corner isn't what it used to be. 3 CBs are starters now essentially. Cut Ike and there's a big whole to fill who is going to be in the game more often than not.

I haven't seen any mention of DVD yet, DeMarcus Van Dyke. He's got some size and top end speed. I am hoping Lake can turn him into Ike with hands. Sounded like the Steelers took a good look at him coming out of college, maybe part of the reason we picked him up. He was a good ST player his first couple weeks and then POOF seemed to disappear.

I never did like Victorian and from what I could tell did nothing but get repeated burned. Too small.

I've always like Ike. Would hate to see him go, but it seemed like he did a lot of grabbing and fouling or was getting beat too. Moreso early in the season.

Mister Pittsburgh
12-31-2012, 06:34 PM
Wonder if Ike can play either S position?

DukieBoy
12-31-2012, 06:42 PM
I think you guys are crazy. To keep Ike who is on the down side of his career, will be 33 next year, and who makes over $9 million dollars just to have depth when the Steelers are nearly $30 million over the cap is crazy.

Maybe so, Dee Dub, and you are right to raise the cap concerns. Ike is one of several cap-eaters, but I think there are better cap-reduction options than to let Ike go.

Ike will be 33, but he has taken great care of his body. He may restructure as has been suggested. I thought he was in decline early this year, but he was excellent after the first few games. Very good in coverage and an excellent tackler in run support and in open field.

The other concerns I have:
- We seem to have little quality players in reserve after these three.
- It takes our team into the 3rd year to bring a new defensive back up to speed.

hawaiiansteel
12-31-2012, 10:38 PM
Steelers notebook: 8-8 record leads to 17th pick in April’s NFL Draft

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=v95en dIhyev$oOj$HUjzO8$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYu0w8Tpcq5evoy 2v8CxT_svWCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg

Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel suffered a sprained medial collateral knee ligament Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, against the Browns, but he won't need surgery.

By Alan Robinson
Published: Monday, December 31, 2012

The Steelers will draft 17th in the first round, the highest they‘ve selected since they chose linebacker Lawrence Timmons 15th overall in 2007. The draft order has been set for Nos. 1-20; the other 12 slots will be determined during the playoffs. The top six will be Kansas City, Jacksonville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Detroit and Cleveland. Of the 20 teams that didn‘t reach the postseason, the Steelers had the easiest strength of schedule.

• Safety Ryan Clark was released from a hospital Monday after being kept overnight for precautionary reasons with a severely bruised quadriceps. Because Clark had two concussions during the season, he posted on Twitter from the hospital that his visit wasn‘t concussion-related.

• Defensive end Brett Keisel and cornerback Keenan Lewis won‘t need surgery to repair sprained medial collateral knee ligaments, and cornerback Ike Taylor (broken foot) and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder, ribs) also won‘t need an operation. Roethlisberger is a second alternate for the Pro Bowl but said he doesn‘t think he is healthy enough to play even if a slot opens up.

• Clark was impressed with how Lewis played hurt Sunday against Cleveland, even in a game with no playoff implications. “His play was a big reason why we finished No. 1 (in defense) — what he showed late in the season, being injured, we knew he was hurt but trying to go out and play,” Clark said. “That‘s what you want to see, the fact he wants to be on the field. It means a lot to us.”

• Cortez Allen, who replaced the injured Taylor as a starter in December, accounted for one-quarter of all the Steelers‘ takeaways in just the final two weeks of the season. But he‘s not ready to campaign for a starting job if Lewis leaves. “I don‘t know Keenan‘s plans, but always I go in and try to give my best effort with whatever I do and everything will fall in place,” Allen said Monday.

• Charlie Batch, the oldest quarterback to play for the Steelers, will be 39 next season — but still believes he can play and likely will seek a job for next season. The Steelers could choose to bring him back and then bring in two other younger quarterbacks for camp. One thing he‘s not yet ready to do is become an assistant coach, although some teammates believe he would be an effective quarterbacks coach.

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/3216531-74/season-steelers-clark#ixzz2GgS7tElL

fordfixer
12-31-2012, 11:38 PM
Steelers Notebook: DB has nose for turnoversBy Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette




Cortez Allen received the opportunity to play the final two games of the season because of an injury to starting cornerback Ike Taylor, and the second-year pro from The Citadel made a strong bid for more playing time next season.


If Keenan Lewis leaves via unrestricted free agency, Allen proved he is an option to earn a starting job next season opposite Taylor.


In the past two games, Allen was in on five turnovers. After two interceptions and a forced fumble last week against the Bengals, Allen forced two more fumbles and recovered one of them in the Steelers' 24-10 season-ending victory Sunday against the Browns at Heinz Field.


"He's been ready," Lewis said of Allen. "He's one of those guys who could come in if a starter went down. Or if he was a starter he was going to play extremely well. It wasn't anything the coaches didn't know. They knew that. I have a lot of confidence in him when I'm out there with him."


Allen's two forced fumbles set up two touchdowns for the Steelers. In the second quarter, Allen stripped Josh Gordon after he caught a pass. Lawrence Timmons recovered at the Browns 24, setting up Leonard Pope's touchdown reception just before halftime.


In the fourth quarter, Allen stripped Travis Benjamin after he caught a pass, scooped up the ball and returned it 21 yards to set up the Steelers third touchdown.


For a defense that was starved for turnovers all season, Allen provided some much-needed play-making ability to Dick LeBeau's unit.


"I feel good about being able to help the team get these turnovers and getting this win," he said. "I'm just doing what I can to help the team. I'll go into the offseason continuing to train and get better and everything else will take care of itself from there."


Back to the Future


Plaxico Burress caught his first touchdown in a Steelers uniform in nearly eight years when he reeled in a 12-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter. It was his first touchdown reception as a Steelers player since the AFC championship loss to the Patriots after the 2004 season.


Burress finished with two receptions for 24 yards against the Browns and also drew a pass interference penalty.


"They pretty much told me early in the week I'd get some reps," Burress said. "We were looking for the right coverage. When I was getting single coverage, Ben was trying to give me a shot to go make some plays. We made a few and drew a pass interference. It was a pretty good day."


Burress, an 11-year veteran, was picked up by the Steelers in late November, but had been inactive the past two weeks against the Cowboys and Bengals. He said he would like to continue playing.


"I'm going to keep working," he said. "I know I can still play some good football. For me, I'm going to keep preparing and working out. I still feel I can run and do some things pretty well."


More injuries


The 2012 season ended the way it started -- with more injuries to starters. Four more starters exited the game and did not return, but none of the injuries are thought to be serious.


Lewis and defensive end Brett Keisel sustained knee injuries, offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum a concussion and offensive guard David DeCastro a stinger.


Timmons makes history


Inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons had two fourth-quarter sacks to tie James Harrison for the team lead with six. Timmons is the first inside linebacker to lead the team in sacks since the league began keeping the statistic in 1972.


Malecki gets his feet wet


It took John Malecki three years to finally play a snap in the NFL, but this former Pitt and Franklin Regional standout had his dream come true Sunday. Malecki, an offensive lineman who spent half the season on the practice squad before being elevated to the active roster, played extensively at right guard after injuries to starters DeCastro and Beachum necessitated that he play.


"Coach [Sean] Kugler told me I would get a series in the second half," Malecki said. "I was mentally prepared. It was great to get out there, an unbelievable experience."


Malecki said he hopes to return to the team next season.


"I thought I progressively got better as the year went on," he said. "It's a process. Being on the [practice] squad early in the year, these guys always treated me like I was on the active roster and one of them. Those guys treat me like a brother and I'm glad I had the opportunity to get out there and play with them."


Another coaching change?


Browns coach Pat Shurmur could find out today if he's still has his job.


Reports over the past few weeks in Cleveland have said that the team's new owner, Jimmy Haslam III, will make the change and fire Shurmur, who has compiled a 9-23 record in his two seasons as head coach.


"I haven't spoken to Joe [Bannon, team CEO] or Jimmy in quite some time," Shurmur said after the season-ending loss to the Steelers. "I saw them before the game, but not close enough to speak with them."


Haslam, who had a minority stake in the Steelers before buying the Browns, was announced as the team's new owner the first day of training camp. Mike Holmgren, who had been team president since December 2009 and was the man who hired Shurmur before the 2011 season, was told that he could finish out this season.


But Haslam let Holmgren go in late November as the cloud surrounding Shurmur grew.


Ventrone makes big play


Perhaps the biggest play of the day for the Browns was turned in by a guy who grew up in the Pittsburgh area.


Ray Ventrone, a Chartiers Valley graduate who played college football at Villanova, executed a fake punt on the opening possession in the third quarter and rumbled 35 yards to the Steelers 40. Three plays later, the Browns scored their only touchdown on a 7-yard pass from quarterback Thad Lewis to wide receiver Greg Little.


"We called the play and if we didn't get the look we wanted, we were going to audible out of it," said Ventrone, a backup safety. "We got the look we wanted and it was good. It worked out well."


The Steelers stopped the Browns a their 25 to start the second half, but immediately lost any momentum when Ventrone took the direct snap as the up back in punt formation.


"On the fake, you have to be patient" he said. "Everyone on the punt team blocked it well for me to have that kind of lane to run through."


True to his roots, Ventrone was wearing a black and gold Three Rivers Stadium t-shirt in the locker room after the game. Ventrone said there were about 60 friends and family in the crowed to see him play.


Quick hits


• The Steelers improved to 63-57 against the Browns and have won 10 consecutive at Heinz Field to improve to 39-21 in home games vs. their AFC North rival.


• The Steelers and Patriots are the only teams to win at least eight games in every season since 2004.


• The Steelers had three players with 60 receptions or more for only the second time since 1969. Heath Miller led the team with 71 catches, followed by Antonio Brown (66) and Mike Wallace (64).


• The Steelers finished the season with the fifth-most passing yards in franchise history. They threw for 3,787 yards. The top passing season was 2009, the previous time the team missed the playoffs before this season.


• Roethlisberger finished the season with 26 touchdown passes, tying for the second-best total of his career. He threw at least one touchdown pass in the 13 games he played this season.


• Tight end Leonard Pope caught his second touchdown pass of the season. Two of his three receptions this season were for touchdowns.


• Safety Troy Polamalu recorded the 30th interception of his career and became the ninth player in franchise history to reach 30 http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/steelers-notebook-db-has-nose-for-turnovers-668499/

flippy
01-01-2013, 03:34 AM
I thought Allen was going to be the breakout player for us this season. He's one of the best athletes at CB in the league. His Ike with better ball awareness and I think he's got the most upside of all our corners.

Lewis suprised the heck out of me this season. I'd written him off, and he completely changed his game for the better.

I'm on the keep all 3 bandwagon. I think you need the big 3 to compete with the better teams like NE or Atl on offense.

Victorian needs some more work, but I still like his instincts at the position and think he can become a decent guy in the slot. I also think Brown can develop in the slot as well, but he's never gonna belong on the outside. Both Brown and Vicky are always gonna have problems with bigger WRs.