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Thread: Steelers CBs likely to be stronger in 2012

  1. #1
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    Steelers CBs likely to be stronger in 2012

    Steelers corners likely stronger in 2012

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012
    By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



    Despite Ike Taylor's rough outing Sunday in Denver, nothing should change in his role with the Steelers as they begin preparation for the 2012 season.

    The Steelers signed Ike Taylor to a four-year contract worth $28 million before the season because he was the best of the existing cornerbacks on the roster and there wasn't a starter-capable player behind him.

    And, despite what happened to him in the team's sudden and stunning playoff loss in Denver, Taylor will return and assume a similar role to the one he performed this season.

    This time, though, the cornerback position should be much stronger in 2012, even though the Steelers finished the regular season with the NFL's No. 1-ranked pass defense. That is because the Steelers expect two or three of their young cornerbacks to contend for starting spots -- a scenario that did not exist when this season began.

    Taylor's spot will not be open, but the one opposite him could be if the Steelers part with two of their veteran corners -- Bryant McFadden and/or William Gay. One of the contenders will be cornerback Keenan Lewis, who finally emerged in his third season and played well as the fifth defensive back in the sub packages.

    The others will be rookies Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen, who were drafted one round apart and could do for their position what LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons did for linebackers in '07 and Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown did for receivers in '10.

    "It's positive for all of us," Lewis said Tuesday at the team's South Side facility, where players were meeting with coach Mike Tomlin. "I see a bright side to it. I think in a few years we will have a good group.

    "I think I made good progress. I didn't really showcase anything my first two seasons. I came back stronger and a more mature person this year. I will be ready to compete for that spot next year."

    There was nothing positive about what happened in Denver, not when Taylor picked the wrong time to have a personal nightmare -- giving up passes of 51 and 58 yards that led to touchdowns and getting beat for the winning 80-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime. All three receptions were by Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who didn't have a reception longer than 47 yards in the regular season.

    Taylor was so disconsolate after the game he declined to speak to media. He was at the Steelers facility Tuesday and again gave the media the same stiff-arm he got from Thomas on the winning touchdown.

    "We made those plays [during the season]," Gay said. "We just didn't make those plays the other night."

    McFadden, who began the season as a starter and fell quickly on the depth chart, is not expected to be brought back. And Gay, who replaced McFadden as the starter, is an unrestricted free agent because he signed a one-year contract before the 2011 season.

    Gay had a solid season, despite getting beat for a 30-yard touchdown in Denver, but he could be eased out because of the three young players behind him. There is a possibility Gay could be switched to free safety because he plays better when his back is not to the quarterback.

    "I don't know what Kevin Colbert or coach Mike [Tomlin] are going to do, but I want to be here," Gay said. "That's the bottom line."

    But the Steelers have high hopes for Brown, a third-round choice from Texas; and Allen, a fourth-round pick from The Citadel.

    Brown caught the eye of the coaches when he led the team in special-teams tackles (15), despite missing the final four games on the injured-reserve list. He is athletic, tough and relentless.

    Allen was another special-teams terror who emerged as the dime back in the sub packages because of his ability to run and cover. He did not play in Denver because he was placed on injured reserve with a separated right shoulder.

    "They will [contribute] next year," Lewis said. "Those guys work hard every day. You can just see how they progress. It's similar to some of the things I did."

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12011/12 ... z1j7pBpahG

  2. #2

    Re: Steelers CBs likely to be stronger in 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
    Steelers corners likely stronger in 2012

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012
    By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    [img]http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/images/201201/freed_steelers010812_19_330.jpg
    There is a possibility Gay could be switched to free safety because he plays better when his back is not to the quarterback.

    "I don't know what Kevin Colbert or coach Mike [Tomlin] are going to do, but I want to be here," Gay said. "That's the bottom line."
    I've never heard that about Gay before. I wonder if that is pure speculation or information from the coaching staff?

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    Re: Steelers CBs likely to be stronger in 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by phillyesq
    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
    Steelers corners likely stronger in 2012

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012
    By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    [img]http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/images/201201/freed_steelers010812_19_330.jpg
    There is a possibility Gay could be switched to free safety because he plays better when his back is not to the quarterback.

    "I don't know what Kevin Colbert or coach Mike [Tomlin] are going to do, but I want to be here," Gay said. "That's the bottom line."
    I've never heard that about Gay before. I wonder if that is pure speculation or information from the coaching staff?
    I think he is too small for FS.
    Even if Bill Belichick was getting an atomic wedgie, his face would look exactly the same.

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    Re: Steelers CBs likely to be stronger in 2012

    Gay is not and never has been a starting corner. If Lewis, Brown or Allen can't beat him out for a starting spot then the CB situation will not be stronger and those three don't have the potential we think.

  5. #5

    Re: Steelers CBs likely to be stronger in 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost
    Gay is not and never has been a starting corner. If Lewis, Brown or Allen can't beat him out for a starting spot then the CB situation will not be stronger and those three don't have the potential we think.
    Come on Ghost, that's a little short sighted. Two rookies finish the season on IR and will never reach their potential if they don't beat out the starter in their second year? Isn't it possible to have more patience than that?

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    Re: Steelers CBs likely to be stronger in 2012

    While I will remain optimistic like the rest of Steeler nation, I'm not going to hold my breath that any of those guys emerges (i.e. as opposed to winning the job by default) as a legitimate starter. It's hard for me to see Tez Allen for sure, become the starter by next season. That would be amazing if he was that good. Curtis Brown? There is a reason why, with all his athleticism, he played at a major school like Texas and still wasn't a first-round pick. And Lewis... he just seems like a common man.

    I will say, that if they go into the season with Gay opposite Taylor again, we can't expect anything more than what we saw this year. Not in today's NFL.
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  7. #7

    Re: Steelers CBs likely to be stronger in 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoe
    While I will remain optimistic like the rest of Steeler nation, I'm not going to hold my breath that any of those guys emerges (i.e. as opposed to winning the job by default) as a legitimate starter. It's hard for me to see Tez Allen for sure, become the starter by next season. That would be amazing if he was that good. Curtis Brown? There is a reason why, with all his athleticism, he played at a major school like Texas and still wasn't a first-round pick. And Lewis... he just seems like a common man.

    I will say, that if they go into the season with Gay opposite Taylor again, we can't expect anything more than what we saw this year. Not in today's NFL.
    Do you honestly believe that the reason why we are no longer playing is because of our CBs? That having a better CB opposite Ike and we are contending for the SB?

    I'd say that our CB play was as good as any team in the league this year. Steeler fans like to complain that "if the QB was a more accurate passer we would have been burned on more plays" but are we the only team that plays against QBs who miss receivers?

    Of all of the issues plaguing this team, our CB corps is waaaaaaay down the list.

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    Re: Steelers CBs likely to be stronger in 2012

    The only way the CB for the Steelers will get better is by letting Lewis, Brown & Allen fight for the spot opposite Ike.

    Chadman actually likes Willie Gay, but he will not improve the team or create enough big plays to help the Steelers get better.

    It's the era of young, fast athletes.

    The Steelers have 3, let them compete, and whichever one comes out on top at TC gets the job. There might be initial struggles, but Chadman would be willing to give up the 'consistant' play of Gay for more big plays from Brown, Lewis or Allen.
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    Re: Steelers CBs likely to be stronger in 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by steeler_fan_in_t.o.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost
    Gay is not and never has been a starting corner. If Lewis, Brown or Allen can't beat him out for a starting spot then the CB situation will not be stronger and those three don't have the potential we think.
    Come on Ghost, that's a little short sighted. Two rookies finish the season on IR and will never reach their potential if they don't beat out the starter in their second year? Isn't it possible to have more patience than that?
    Absolutely! Total hyperbole as well....

    It's more wishful thinking on my part that the Steelers drafted a young kid who grabs the bull by the horns and who's performance demands he starts. Comes on huge in year 2. I'd love to see Taylor and a youngster mostly shut down the top 2 guys week in and out.

    But if it doesn't happen I'll be back in the fall to throw the word bust all over the place!!

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    Re: Steelers CBs likely to be stronger in 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoe
    Curtis Brown? There is a reason why, with all his athleticism, he played at a major school like Texas and still wasn't a first-round pick.
    Wow, I'm sorry, but this is just a dumb statement.

    Most players who play at major programs like Texas are "athletic." A lot of them are not first round picks, and then develop into great players in the pros.

    There are a lot of players who played at major programs, not first round picks, and start and do very well for teams.

    Or are you saying that we couldn't have drafted someone who can do this?
    Here comes the BOOM!

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