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pete74
08-08-2011, 07:47 PM
There is a log jam at the Cornerback position this season. That does not mean it is a good log jam but there is one. The Steelers were able to lock up Ike Taylor and brought back William Gay this offseason. The team also drafted 2 players in April. With Bryant McFadden, Crezdon Butler, Donovan Warren and Keenan Lewis already on the squad this team will have some tough decisions to make when the final roster comes out. There are 8 guys and possibly only 5 or maybe 6 spots available. Two of these guys at a minimum are going packing.

With the shortened offseason Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden should probably be penciled in as starters. They were there last season and we did make it to the Super Bowl. The battles start at Nickel Corner and beyond. I believe the team will keep 6 corners this year with all the young guys on the team. They normally make good special teamers as well.

Option 1

William Gay- Gay and McFadden took to the media today to talk about how they are mistreated and people donít know what they really do for the team. Yes they get picked on. Yes fans make fun of them. BUT, also yes they are the weakest link. If either of these two (Gay Especially) could cover anyone Jorday Nelson wouldnít have whooped our ass in the Super Bowl. How about you stop whining about getting picked on and pick off a pass or maybe even just knock one down. When we play teams that throw quick passes and we canít pass rush you two get crushed. Ask Gronkowski from the Patriots what it is like to score three touchdowns in a game Willie.

If you couldnít tell I do not like William Gay. I was pissed when we signed him even if it was a one year deal. I do not want to cut another rookie and lose them to another team and Gay hasnít shown me anything in his career. I would rather take a chance on someone. They canít be any worse and they are definitely a lot cheaper.

Option 2

Kennan Lewis- Lewis received his shot last year in the preseason and after 1 quarter was in Mike Tomlinís doghouse for the rest of the season. He was given the oppurtunity to try and start and blew that right out the window. He has the size and the skillset to be good. He has great speed but it seems as if he is missing something upstairs. He has practiced well in the preseason and got some good reps while Ike Taylor was not allowed to practice. Lewis has the potential. Now lets see if he can get that Nickel Cornerback away from William Gay.

Option 3

Crezdon Butler- Butler is a bit of an unknown. He comes with high praise from the coaches about how well he works but we have not really gotten to see him on the field that much to be able to judge what could become of him. From what we hear we should be fans and expect him to become a solid player but I need to witness it first. He only got in four games last season and it was all on Special Teams. He only made one tackle. I hold out hope for this kid.

Option 4

Donovan Warren- Warren was brought in as an undrafted and teamless free agent at the end of last season. He was highly regarded by scouts coming from Michigan. He had a bad combine and people started watching more tape and he fell off the face of the earth on draft day in 2010. He spent some time with the Giants last season but utlimately was cut. He looks like he should be more of a Free Safety then a corner. I think it may be practice squad or bust for Warren.

Option 5

Curtis Brown- Brown was brought in as a third round draft choice out of Texas. He has been lucky to have all of the minor injuries and CBA problems. It has given him many reps with the first team defense. He has even been running with the second team at the same time as well as playing on Special Teams. They are wearing the kid out already. He is taking it though and that is impressive.

Brown looks to be a good cover corner. He makes up ground and breaks on the ball while it is in the air very well. He has good vision at the corner spot. Even with his small frame he is not afraid to hit. I do not think he will be in the rotation in game 1 but by the end of the season I expect to see this kid in the Nickel Cornerback role if he keeps playing at the level he is now and gets better throughout the year.

Option 6

Cortez Allen- Allen looks like what the Steelers love to bring to the team. He follows in the Ike Taylor, Kennan Lewis type player. Big corner with size and speed who has potential but is very raw. Allen has a long way to go to be a good corner but even as a project he seems to have that quality that you canít teach. He could be someone who really helps us down the line. His roster spot may be set because we can not afford to let another team snag him once he hits waivers.

The Steelers are young at corner and look to be getting even younger. There seems to be a change over happening with this unit and it could be a good thing for this team.

Week 1 Depth Chart

1.Ike Taylor
2.Bryant McFadden
3.Keenan Lewis
4.Curtis Brown
5.Crezdon Butler
6.Cortez Allen
Mid Season Depth Chart

1.Ike Taylor
2.Bryant McFadden
3.Curtis Brown
4.Crezdon Butler
5.Keenan Lewis
6.Cortez Allen
I do not like William Gay and he is only going to hurt this team by making the roster. I realize that he most likely will but it does not benefit the team especially if we lose one of the rookies to keep him.

fer522
08-08-2011, 07:52 PM
I do not like William Gay and he is only going to hurt this team by making the roster. I realize that he most likely will but it does not benefit the team especially if we lose one of the rookies to keep him.

couldn't agree with you more

Steelboy84
08-08-2011, 08:09 PM
Gay is a pretty good blitzer, but terrible in coverage. Why not keep him in some blitz/ zone packages?

Steelersfan87
08-08-2011, 08:35 PM
Gay is underrated as a nickel corner. I guarantee there are worse nickelbacks in this league. There's also no way that he doesn't make the roster. They would not have given him a one year deal if he was not a lock.

steeltheone
08-08-2011, 08:50 PM
Gay is underrated as a nickel corner. I guarantee there are worse nickelbacks in this league. There's also no way that he doesn't make the roster. They would not have given him a one year deal if he was not a lock.

Very true!

SoCalFan
08-08-2011, 08:59 PM
We just got to hope Gay made strides to straighten up his game in the off season!The coaching staff is around these guys on a regular basis and must see something,im putting my trust in the coaches...Awwww shit,I forgot about B.A....

Fire Arians
08-08-2011, 09:09 PM
i wouldn't be surprised if bryant mcfadden is the one who doesn't make the cut.

gay is not bad in the nickel, just not covering a #1 wr or tight end

55BaileyFan
08-08-2011, 09:38 PM
Cortez is way to far down on the list.

I think that Taylor and McFadden will start as our #1 guys but I think BMac will fall behind either Curtis Brown or Cortez. I think Gay will be the Nickel guy as long as one of the rookies doesn't show him up. I think the depth will end up.

Taylor, Brown, BMac, Gay, Allen, Butler....with the last two getting reps in Nickel and Dime packages.

tanda10506
08-08-2011, 09:45 PM
Gay seems to be horrible covering anybody. Of course Taylor and McFadden will start game one, but the more I here about Brown the more I like him. A good coverage corner that isn't afraid to make a big hit, that is exactly what we need. Lewis can go and I wouldn't mind seeing Gay go either, but that's unlikely. I'm just hoping that Brown comes out and plays extremely well, like Pouncey did his rookie year, and takes the #2 spot from McFadden. McFadden got burnt a lot last year, however in Nickel I think he would do okay.

Steelersfan87
08-08-2011, 09:55 PM
Anybody that thinks Curtis Brown will surpass Bryant McFadden this year doesn't really understand the situation. McFadden will be the #2 corner all season barring injuries. It's possible that Keenan Lewis beats out Gay for the nickel position before the season begins, but there's no way Brown even sees the field on anything but special teams (again, barring injury) until later on in the season. The kid's only had a playbook for a couple weeks. And Cortez Allen might not even see the active roster last year if he even avoids being put on the practice squad. He's by far the most raw and least ready cornerback on the entire roster.

DanRooney
08-08-2011, 10:48 PM
Anybody that thinks Curtis Brown will surpass Bryant McFadden this year doesn't really understand the situation. McFadden will be the #2 corner all season barring injuries. It's possible that Keenan Lewis beats out Gay for the nickel position before the season begins, but there's no way Brown even sees the field on anything but special teams (again, barring injury) until later on in the season. The kid's only had a playbook for a couple weeks. And Cortez Allen might not even see the active roster last year if he even avoids being put on the practice squad. He's by far the most raw and least ready cornerback on the entire roster.

I don't think the coaching staff understands the situation.Before you start, let's not claim them to be the smartest personnel in the NFL at picking rosters and starting players. I mean they're better than 25+ other teams at it, but they continuously make stupid mistakes that an average fan can spot from a mile away. You guys have to remember that Pouncey starting had little to do with him playing extremely well at camp. It was the injury to Justin Hartshit that allowed him to start day 1. If Hartshit was 100%, Pouncey would have been RG the entire season.

Bringing in Randle El and Arnaz Battle another hilarious blunder. If they would have let Sanders/Brown play from day 1 (let's be real, the world isn't going to end letting a rookie start at #3 receiver), maybe a guy like Brown wouldn't of been lost in the Super Bowl.

They are also absolutely horrible at finding quality DBs. Since Tomlin arrived, they've brought in guys like Gay, Lewis, Joe Burnett, Keiwan Ratliff,Anthony Madison, and others. I was horrified that a special teams ace saw the field during two playoff games. I mean what the hell were they thinking? They were so desperate 2 years ago that he had to bring back Bryant McFadden who was coming off a horrible year in Arizona.

cloppbeast
08-09-2011, 08:57 AM
Anybody that thinks Curtis Brown will surpass Bryant McFadden this year doesn't really understand the situation.

Such an absolute statement deserves at least some explanation.

I understand it's unlikely Brown takes over #2, but if there ever were a chance in the Steelers defense for a rookie CB to start, this is it. It's definitely possible. Pouncey at center last year shows it is. Hopefully the experience with Maurkice last year will open up Tomlin's mind so he'll actually play young players.

MDSteel15
08-09-2011, 09:25 AM
We just got to hope Gay made strides to straighten up his game in the off season!The coaching staff is around these guys on a regular basis and must see something,im putting my trust in the coaches...Awwww shit,I forgot about B.A....

Wrong side of the ball! :hatsoff:

Steelersfan87
08-09-2011, 12:05 PM
Such an absolute statement deserves at least some explanation.

I understand it's unlikely Brown takes over #2, but if there ever were a chance in the Steelers defense for a rookie CB to start, this is it. It's definitely possible. Pouncey at center last year shows it is. Hopefully the experience with Maurkice last year will open up Tomlin's mind so he'll actually play young players.

There was no offseason, the kid had a playbook for 2 weeks, and playing in a zone blitz is more difficult to grasp as a rookie than playing on the offensive line. It took Joe Haden, a top 10 pick on a bad team with a full offseason, several games to make the starting lineup. Devin McCourty was forced into a starting spot due to injuries. It's very uncommon for a rookie to start on a veteran-laden team to begin with, especially when you're talking about a late 3rd round pick at a position with incumbent starters returning. A lot of people are projecting the successes and advancements of Crezdon Butler and Curtis Brown simply because they don't like Bryant McFadden and William Gay and are merely hoping, not actually thinking. Of course any time a backup beats out a starter through pure play it's a good thing and makes the team better, but let's put it this way: it is very highly unlikely that Curtis Brown starts a game in 2011 without injuries playing a significant role. He would first have to earn the nickel role over Gay, Lewis, and Butler. It's very possible that Curtis Brown has more raw talent than any other CB other than Taylor on the roster, but he still has a lot to learn and a lot of trust to earn before LeBeau would (rightfully) feel comfortable throwing him in there.



I don't think the coaching staff understands the situation.Before you start, let's not claim them to be the smartest personnel in the NFL at picking rosters and starting players. I mean they're better than 25+ other teams at it, but they continuously make stupid mistakes that an average fan can spot from a mile away. You guys have to remember that Pouncey starting had little to do with him playing extremely well at camp. It was the injury to Justin Hartshit that allowed him to start day 1. If Hartshit was 100%, Pouncey would have been RG the entire season.

Of course "stupid mistakes" are easy to spot when you don't know everything that goes on behind the scenes. Obviously no organization is immune to making personnel mistakes, but the amount of fans that genuinely believe that they would do a better job at running a professional football team is laughable. Everybody has opinions on personnel decisions. Disagreeing with the organization's moves doesn't make you right.

The second half of your statement I have no basis for believing. I'm sure that Hartwig having had shoulder surgery played some role in his release, but to suggest that Pouncey's performance itself had "little" to do with him being named the starting center is pretty unfounded. Do you honestly think the Steelers would have gone into the season with a rookie at center whose backup was a 2nd year undrafted player if they weren't comfortable with the way the rookie performed? Hartwig's losing his job had a lot to do with him really sucking and Pouncey exceeding people's expectations. Hartwig also being injured did not help, but there's no way you can say that he would have still been the starting center if fully healthy because you have no basis for that claim.

Bringing in Randle El and Arnaz Battle another hilarious blunder. If they would have let Sanders/Brown play from day 1 (let's be real, the world isn't going to end letting a rookie start at #3 receiver), maybe a guy like Brown wouldn't of been lost in the Super Bowl.

Frankly, this is all nonsense. The previous season was played in an uncapped year with no restrictions on spending, so it did no harm to bring in these receivers, and in fact both moves were absolutely prudent. Battle was brought in for special teams purposes and he significantly improved that unit. As for the Randle El signing, you have to recall the predicament that the Steelers were in. Every position in the receiver squad outside of Hines Ward was questionable. Santonio Holmes was just dumped, Mike Wallace, a still somewhat raw 3rd round pick, was being relied upon to make a big jump from year 1 to year 2 as a starter, Limas Sweed was lost for the entire season with injuries, and Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown were just drafted, and at that without the highest of hopes. Randle El was brought in as an insurance policy against leveraging the future on unproven youngsters until they proved themselves. Randle El saw the field a lot less after they did so. This is exactly how it should have worked. He also served a critical role in developing these receivers by taking on a position of veteran leadership alongside Ward. Therefore, any stunt in the growth of the young receivers that was potentially caused by Randle El starting off as the third receiver was assuredly offset by his teaching them. He was also an easy cut, despite what Colbert said.

They are also absolutely horrible at finding quality DBs. Since Tomlin arrived, they've brought in guys like Gay, Lewis, Joe Burnett, Keiwan Ratliff,Anthony Madison, and others. I was horrified that a special teams ace saw the field during two playoff games. I mean what the hell were they thinking? They were so desperate 2 years ago that he had to bring back Bryant McFadden who was coming off a horrible year in Arizona.

You need to adjust your unrealistic expectations according to a player's potential. The highest drafted cornerback that you name was Keiwan Ratliff, and he was a 2nd round pick of the Bengals, the team with the worst scouting department in the league. He was brought in here strictly for depth purposes and was never meant to contribute significantly. Anthony Madison was an undrafted free agent and only earned a roster spot due to his special teams play. Joe Burnett was a 5th round pick and did about as well as one would expect of a 5th round CB thrown into a nickel role in his rookie year. Gay was also a 5th round pick and is absolutely an above average player for a 5th round cornerback. Gay was the 170th pick of his draft; ostensibly the 170th best player in his draft class. How much do you really expect from him? Do you expect the Steelers to pull out a diamond in the rough in every round that for some mysterious reason 31 other teams are not savvy enough to identify? You should be happy with the production that Gay has given the Steelers relative to his draft position.

Now that leaves Keenan Lewis. Lewis' rookie season was plagued by nagging injuries that prevented him from seeing any significant time. He was given the opportunity to shine in the preseason the next year, but his mental makeup, not his physical attributes, failed him in the preseason. At this point he was relegated to special teams play, where he continued to blunder a few more times. Frankly, I don't care how good of a special teams player Lewis can be. Curtis Brown is purportedly an excellent special teams player and can take his spot on that squad. What I'm interested in is if Lewis can perform at his position. He flashed a good deal in training camp and preseason last year and from all reports is doing so again this year. I have read that Lewis is the only DB that can consistently run with Wallace deep. He has a lot of potential. His story with the Steelers is obviously not completely written, so don't be quick to dismiss him as a bust just yet. The better Lewis does, the better the Steelers are as a team. We must wait to see what happens during the preseason games, but I feel that he has a chance to earn the nickel role to start the season. He is entering his third season and therefore should have the system down fully, so it should just be down to his natural abilities.

SoCalFan
08-09-2011, 12:05 PM
Wrong side of the ball! :hatsoff:

I have assisted in coaching football on the HS level and believe me,ALL coaches have feedback on players in meetings on both sides of the ball,remember the O and the D play each other in practice!Besides,just another opp. to take a stab at him!

Sixburgher
08-09-2011, 12:27 PM
Of course "stupid mistakes" are easy to spot when you don't know everything that goes on behind the scenes. Obviously no organization is immune to making personnel mistakes, but the amount of fans that genuinely believe that they would do a better job at running a professional football team is laughable. Everybody has opinions on personnel decisions. Disagreeing with the organization's moves doesn't make you right.

Not to mention when the "mistakes" are viewed with the added benefit of 20/20 hindsight.

cloppbeast
08-09-2011, 01:17 PM
There was no offseason, the kid had a playbook for 2 weeks, and playing in a zone blitz is more difficult to grasp as a rookie than playing on the offensive line. It took Joe Haden, a top 10 pick on a bad team with a full offseason, several games to make the starting lineup. Devin McCourty was forced into a starting spot due to injuries. It's very uncommon for a rookie to start on a veteran-laden team to begin with, especially when you're talking about a late 3rd round pick at a position with incumbent starters returning. A lot of people are projecting the successes and advancements of Crezdon Butler and Curtis Brown simply because they don't like Bryant McFadden and William Gay and are merely hoping, not actually thinking. Of course any time a backup beats out a starter through pure play it's a good thing and makes the team better, but let's put it this way: it is very highly unlikely that Curtis Brown starts a game in 2011 without injuries playing a significant role. He would first have to earn the nickel role over Gay, Lewis, and Butler. It's very possible that Curtis Brown has more raw talent than any other CB other than Taylor on the roster, but he still has a lot to learn and a lot of trust to earn before LeBeau would (rightfully) feel comfortable throwing him in there.

I agree with pretty much everything you said.

Many Steelers fans have a grass is greener mentality for pretty much every thing and exagerate like no other. How many complaints have I had to listen to about our secondary just because Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers pass well against us. Here's a ******* clue: HOF quarterback pretty much pass well against every defense -that's whey they're HOF quarterbacks!

[Cloppbeast steps off his soapbox]

I sincerely hope Crezdon Butler can make an impact this season - whether in nickel or dime packages, special teams, even if not as a starter. He's had a full year to learn the system, and from what I hear, he's althletically gifted, he has a good head on his shoulders, and he's a hard worker. Albeit, often what one hears and what one eventually sees differ greatly. We shall see.

kirklandrules
08-09-2011, 03:11 PM
You need to adjust your unrealistic expectations according to a player's potential.

That statement by Gravs sums it up for me. "Give the Governor a HURUMPH!". A player's potential does not always translate into a superstar athlete. Otherwise, Sweed would have been a pro bowler by now and Kendrel Bell would be looking at the HOF. I will always root for young talent to succeed and push this team forward, but you can't expect a rookie, during a lockout year, to come in and make a huge contribution (such as becoming the #2 corner).

Additionally, it has been stated that our defense was torched by the top QBs. In thinking back, we had key injuries to Troy and BMac that persisted for the second half of the year and into the post season. I can't remember the health of the secondary during the Brees game, but I don't think we can bitch too loudly given the team (through all the injuries and suspensions) still made it to the big dance. It sucked that they lost in the big one, but at least this team continues to show they are relevant at the end of the year. When we are watching our team play the very last game of the NFL season, other fans either live vicariously through us or turn into haters ... and we shouldn't take that for granted.

truesteelerfan
08-09-2011, 03:32 PM
I think Gay is ok as the Nickel, the problem comes up when opposing O Coordinators realize he is on the field, and thus, move a 1 or 2 WR into the slot and Gay has to cover them. I think he's ok defending the other team's #3 or #4 Receiver, but can't physically compete with the other team's top guys. He's ok as a blitzer, but thats not really the role we have in mind for a CB on a regular basis is it? I agree with those of you who say he'll certainly make the roster....but I don't have to like it do I? The plan to make him our starter didn't work, and Nickel CB is the perfect spot to get some reps in for a younger guy IMO

kirklandrules
08-09-2011, 03:52 PM
I think Gay is ok as the Nickel, the problem comes up when opposing O Coordinators realize he is on the field, and thus, move a 1 or 2 WR into the slot and Gay has to cover them. I think he's ok defending the other team's #3 or #4 Receiver, but can't physically compete with the other team's top guys. He's ok as a blitzer, but thats not really the role we have in mind for a CB on a regular basis is it? I agree with those of you who say he'll certainly make the roster....but I don't have to like it do I? The plan to make him our starter didn't work, and Nickel CB is the perfect spot to get some reps in for a younger guy IMO

Not disagreeing with what you said here, but won't opposing coordinators move their #1 or #2 receivers to the slot against young cornerbacks just as you say they did against Gay? Not sure if that helps the team, unless you're indicating those young CBs are better than Gay in the nickel.

Third Rail
08-09-2011, 03:58 PM
So... do we have anyone (other than Ike) who can actually play corner this season or is our defense going to stick with the "Troy does something amazing or the other team throws a TD" defensive scheme again?

Fire Arians
08-09-2011, 05:04 PM
So... do we have anyone (other than Ike) who can actually play corner this season or is our defense going to stick with the "Troy does something amazing or the other team throws a TD" defensive scheme again?

i'm hoping for keenan lewis or crezdon butler to step up. butler looked good in last year's camp and lewis has another shot to prove himself. he definitely has the physical tools if he can keep up with wallace on a fly route. the main question mark with keenan is if he's mentally matured enough to be ready to go. if he doesn't pull a denver this preseason, i think he has a good chance.

curtis brown definitely won't be a starter this year but if he continues to impress maybe he will steal some time in the nickel package from gay.

if keenan / butler can step up and curtis brown is good enough to replace gay in the nickel, or at least be an effective #5 db against spread attacks, i think our secondary will be greatly improved.

BKAnthem
08-11-2011, 07:16 PM
I don't think the coaching staff understands the situation.Before you start, let's not claim them to be the smartest personnel in the NFL at picking rosters and starting players. I mean they're better than 25+ other teams at it, but they continuously make stupid mistakes that an average fan can spot from a mile away. You guys have to remember that Pouncey starting had little to do with him playing extremely well at camp. It was the injury to Justin Hartshit that allowed him to start day 1. If Hartshit was 100%, Pouncey would have been RG the entire season.

Bringing in Randle El and Arnaz Battle another hilarious blunder. If they would have let Sanders/Brown play from day 1 (let's be real, the world isn't going to end letting a rookie start at #3 receiver), maybe a guy like Brown wouldn't of been lost in the Super Bowl.

They are also absolutely horrible at finding quality DBs. Since Tomlin arrived, they've brought in guys like Gay, Lewis, Joe Burnett, Keiwan Ratliff,Anthony Madison, and others. I was horrified that a special teams ace saw the field during two playoff games. I mean what the hell were they thinking? They were so desperate 2 years ago that he had to bring back Bryant McFadden who was coming off a horrible year in Arizona.

:thumbsup::tt::applaudit: