Steelers' cornerbacks are not a liability
Steelers' cornerbacks are not a liability
By Jeff.Hartman on May 25 2014
In a draft that was deep at the cornerback position, the Steelers stayed away from it until the fifth round, telling fans that their assessment of the position was a bit off.
NFL fans were glued to their televisions, radios or computer devices to follow who their favorite team would select in the first round, Pittsburgh Steelers fans were hoping for one of two positions; wide receiver or cornerback.
The time came for the Steelers to select at the 15th overall pick and a player fans had coveted, Darqueze Dennard, was still on the board. By now, you know the Steelers didn't just pass up a cornerback in the first round, but also the next three rounds. It wasn't until Shaquille Richardson was drafted in the 5th round that the Steelers felt they wanted to address a mythical need in the secondary.
Fans were dumbfounded.
Twitter was ablaze with fans wondering what in the world the organization was thinking not taking Dennard, but everything you saw and heard from the Steelers' defensive coaches said that the secondary that people feel is a liability for the defense, isn't a liability after all.
Carnell Lake and Dick LeBeau both echoed comments about how they like the cornerbacks they currently have on the roster and there wasn't a need for them to select a cornerback high in the draft. Those cornerbacks they are referring to would be - Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, William Gay and newly acquired Brice McCain.
Throw Richardson into that group and you are most likely looking at the cornerbacks on the 2014 Steelers' roster.
So, with not much changed in terms of starting cornerbacks, why would the secondary not be a liability? Several reasons, but one of the most important is that Ike Taylor isn't being deployed on the opponent's best receiver. When LeBeau finally had Taylor sticking to the opposition's second or sometimes third best receiver, players like AJ Green didn't have a field day against the secondary.
An improved pass rush will go a long ways toward improving that secondary, and after last season you have to think the front seven should be able to get to the passer better than they did in 2013.
Pressure on the quarterback will not only help create turnovers, but won't allow the receivers to have extended routes and will ultimately lead to improved pass defense.
Last, but certainly not least, the Steelers' pass defense was 9th in the NFL last season only giving up 222.1 yards a game last season. That isn't that bad to begin with, and when you return the same cornerbacks and improve your front seven that stat will only improve in 2014.
The Steelers believe in this group of cornerbacks, and there is no reason why fans shouldn't believe in this group either.
We shall see. To these eyes, it sure looked like an upgrade at corner is in order.
I think our current DBs are ok for this season. I'm more concerned for next season. I'm not sure if the Seahawks secondary would have faired much better with our pass rush. The Steelers went at this the right way when they drafted for the front 7. That is how you rebuild a D. Get a pass rush and the DBs will play better.
Well it comes down to what does Ike have left and is Richardson able to play at the next level? Ike just turned 34 and I believe we all saw in 13 his legs are not what they once were. So somewhere as Ike's skill set has or is heading in the wrong direction can Richardson go from inconsistent college db to nfl db? Latrobe and the pre-season will sort that out.
Allen is okay on the other side and he may be able to take it up a notch.
We have McCain and Green 2 sub 4.4 guys who are small slot corners. Green looked okay at Latrobe and I know McCain is if nothing else a solid special team performer. We have ST who is solid in the slot. Gay is our vet and I'll leave it at that.
Some question marks but every team has them. Best case is Richardson beats out Ike somewhere during the season and becomes a solid starter.
that's not gonna happen this season...
Originally Posted by Iron City Inc.
agreed. that would have been a tall enough order for Dennard, if we had taken him in Rd 1. If is does happen though.. it'll be the steal of the draft.
Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
Steelers' position outlook: Cornerback
May, 23, 2014
By Scott Brown | ESPN.com
Who is new: Brice McCain and Shaquille Richardson. The Steelers signed McCain to a one-year, $795,000 contract after he spent his first five seasons with the Texans. They took Richardson with the first of their two fifth-round draft picks.
Who is gone: No significant losses. Not this year, anyway.
Returning starters: Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen. Taylor is back after agreeing to a pay cut. The 11th-year veteran will be plenty motivated after opposing quarterbacks went after him last season. The Steelers will help Taylor by no longer assigning him to shadow the No. 1 wide receiver – unless maybe when they play A.J. Green and the Bengals. Allen only needs to stay healthy to become a bona fide No. 1 cornerback. A high-ankle sprain set Allen back the first half of last season but he eventually won back his starting job and tied for the team lead with two interceptions.
Most significant addition: Richardson. The Steelers successfully gambled that the Arizona product would still be available when they picked in the fifth round. The 6-foot, 194-pounder has good size and is versatile enough that some teams evaluated Richardson as a safety prior to the draft. Richardson has a chance to play right away given the Steelers’ lack of unproven depth at cornerback.
Most significant loss: A year later the loss of Keenan Lewis still stings. Imagine how much different the position would look with Lewis and Allen as the Steelers’ long-term starters at cornerback. Lewis, who signed with the Saints as an unrestricted free agent, intercepted four passes in 2013. The Steelers’ cornerbacks combined for three interceptions last season. Ouch.
On outside looking in: Isaiah Green. The 5-10, 180-pounder spent a little more than half of the 2013 season on the 53-man roster and appeared in three games. The former undrafted free agent will be among those battling Richardson and Antwon Blake for two spots on the roster.
Hidden number: Thirty-one NFL players had more interceptions than the three the Steelers got from their cornerbacks last season.
Outlook: The Steelers bypassed a cornerback in the first round of the draft to take Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier. Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard, meanwhile, went to the Bengals with the No. 24 overall pick. Steelers fans will keep a close eye on the player many though they would draft, especially since Dennard is now playing for a division rival. The Steelers are confident that players such as McCain and Blake can provide quality depth, but Allen is the only long-term starting cornerback on the roster right now. Time will be the ultimate arbiter as to whether the Steelers did enough this offseason to help themselves at cornerback.
Apparently, they did not watch the Steelers at all last season. How can someone write this article with a straight face?
Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
We will most likely be surprised by the performance of the CBs given these two things:
1) Not moving Ike from side to side...simply have each CB play one side of the field...
2) Improvement from the front seven in stopping the run and pass rushing...
#1 - Ike or Cortez will get torched against a teams #1 so it doesn't matter that Ike isn't following the teams #1 all over the field.
Originally Posted by Slapstick
#2 - Yes, I agree. That is our only hope for disguising our weak CBs.