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Can Cortez Allen Replace Keenan Lewis?
One of the big questions of the Steelers off season has been whether or not Cortez Allen can step in and replace Keenan Lewis as the number two cornerback.
Itís something the Steelers desperately desire and need at the same time.
The short answer to the question is, yes, he can do it. Heís played in the nickel package and had a relatively decent year in 2012. He even filled in and started for Ike Taylor when Taylor went down with an injury late last season. He posted 55 tackles, forced three fumbles and picked off two passes while playing in all 16 games.
The Steelers let Keenan Lewis leave for greener pastures despite the argument that he may have been their most consistent corner last season. This tells you they believe in Cortez Allen and feel he can play at a high enough level to start.
However, the long answer to the question is; maybe.
While the team did let Lewis walk as a free agent, they brought back William Gay to provide more depth at the position. Gay has started on this defense before and the team clearly brought him back as an insurance policy in case the Allen experiment goes awry.
Despite Allen being in the league for three seasons, last year was the only time heíd seen significant playing time, does he have enough experience to make the transition to full time starter? Thatís a question heíll have to answer though his play during camp and the pre-season. With Gay looming in the shadows, Allen could be on a short hook.
Another obstacle could be Allenís comfort level. The bulk of the time he played last year was in the nickel package. Is he more suited or more comfortable in that role?
Allen says heís ready to start and wants to take the next step; indicating he has the confidence. Saying it and doing it are two different things, weíll need to see how he performs on the field.
The last issue Allen will need to potentially overcome is misreading plays. There were several times last year where he was burned on the long route or let the receiver take the better angle on him because he simply couldnít read the play.
That is the biggest factor in this transition; heíll have to understand the routes the receivers are taking and anticipate the play on a far more consistent level if he wants to be the starter for the long haul.
Allen certainly has the talent, he has the ability and he has the confidence. The Steelers believe in him but have a backup plan in case.
We are about a month away from camp and when they hit the field come August, it will officially be time to determine the answer to the burning question; can Cortez Allen replace Keenan Lewis?
I think bringing in Dept has more to do with Dept and less to do with being worried about Cortez being the man for the job.
I think Allen will not only replace Lewis, but will be an upgrade. The bigger question is this: If Allen has a good year, will the Steelers be able to re-sign him?
Lewis was a solid DB, but Allen has the ability to be special. I suspect next season we will see some frustrating plays but also some head turners from this young talent. Inconsistent special is what I expect with him getting better and better every game.
I think the bigger long term question is will he be better and eventually replace Ike?
I would agree. I think people are being presumptuous about Lewis still. I thought he had a "solid" first year as an NFL starter, but he didn't prove much else to me (i.e. future star). He may well become one, but I'm fairly certain Tez Allen will replicate what Lewis did for us last year. The question about whether he can take the baton from Ike though... that's an interesting question.
Originally Posted by flippy
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And Cortez will be better than Lewis.
And will be the man in the secondary in 2 to 3 year.
my car's out back
if you're ready to take that long walk
I'm not sure that this is the right question. A better question may be how big of a drop off will the Steelers see in the nickel, when Gay, Curtis Brown, DVD or whoever else take the field. Allen played more snaps last year than Casey Hampton. Part of that was due to injury late in the year, but the nickel plays in the defense - a lot.
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