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mesaSteeler
04-21-2012, 01:24 PM
Steelers might turn corner with younger secondary
By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer dlolley@observer-reporter.com
http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sports11/04-21-2012-NFL-draft-defensive-backs

The Steelers led the NFL in pass defense last year for the second time in three seasons, limiting opponents to 172 yards per game.

But the secondary was exposed in a playoff loss at Denver, allowing numerous big plays, including an 80-yard touchdown pass on the opening play from scrimmage in overtime that ended Pittsburgh's season.

With that in mind, many expect the Steelers will be looking for help in the secondary during the NFL draft, which will be held April 26-28.

The Steelers hold 10 picks, including the 24th selection of the first round.

Even with the loss of starting cornerback William Gay as a free agent and the release of former starter Bryant McFadden, the Steelers feel good about what they have in the secondary.

Cornerback Ike Taylor is coming off one of his strongest seasons, and veteran Keenan Lewis stepped in as the third cornerback last season and performed admirably. The Steelers also are excited about the potential of Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen, a pair of rookies in 2011.

The team also is solid at safety with Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark both coming off Pro Bowl seasons and a pair of veterans in Ryan Mundy and Will Allen as backups.

However, the age of the players in the secondary could be a concern. Clark is 32, and Taylor and Polamalu each are 31. (And when the last time we got a full year play from Troy? Given the way Troy plays and his concussion history he won't be playing much longer. I think we need to draft a top safety or corner back especially since hands of stone Taylor can't catch (intercept) a cold. - mesa)

Because of that, adding youth to the secondary will be a priority in the draft, particularly in the later rounds.

At cornerback, LSU's Morris Claiborne is the clear-cut top pick and will likely be one of the first five or six players selected. South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore should be the next cornerback selected, slipping in ahead of Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick, who didn't help his draft stock by getting arrested for marijuana possession earlier this year.

But the player who is the biggest wildcard among the cornerbacks in this draft is North Alabama's Janoris Jenkins, who began his career at Florida but transferred after being arrested several times, including twice for marijuana possession.

"(As far as) talent, top 10 to 15," said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper via conference call. "If he had no red flags, he would be in the top 15, at worst the top 20, probably top 17, because Cincinnati is picking 17 and needs a corner. He could still be in the mix. The Lions need a corner desperately at 23.

"Or he could get into the second round very easily. I have him going to Carolina, picked 40th. Could he be a first? Yeah, but if that does push him down, it'll be for that reason."

Among safeties, Alabama's Mark Barron is likely the only player at the position who will be selected in the first round.

In later rounds, the Steelers could take a look at Wayne State's Jeremy Jones, West Virginia's Keith Tandy, or Coastal Carolina's Josh Norman.

Jones (5-10, 197) played free safety at Wayne State, setting records with 406 return yards on his 17 career interceptions. He also showed some ability to blitz, finishing with 8 1/2 career sacks.

Tandy (5-10, 202) also is more of a safety prospect, though he started his final two seasons for the Mountaineers at cornerback. A strong tackler, Tandy showed good ball skills throughout his career, recording 10 in his final two seasons.

Norman (6-0, 190) intercepted eight passes as a sophomore. Teams spent the next two years trying to avoid Norman's area. Solid in run support, Norman fits what the Steelers like in their cornerbacks as he led team in tackles with 62 as a senior.

Odds and end zones

Friday was the final day for teams to make offers to restricted free agents, meaning wide receiver Mike Wallace has no option but to return to the Steelers in 2012. ... Former Steelers quarterback Dennis Dixon visited the Baltimore Ravens Thursday but was not signed to a contract. The Ravens instead signed Curtis Painter, who started last season for Indianapolis in place of injured Peyton Manning.

tony hipchest
04-21-2012, 04:18 PM
the steelers dont need help at secondary more than what they already got (other than a replacement for gay's and mcfaddens roster spot- they may actually like rolle or cromartie).

what they really need is to actually practice and prepare for anything. they were caught with their pants down vs denver.

ryan clark admitted the team was prepared for ANYTHING the denver offense could bring to them going into the playoffs, with exception of tebow having a 300+ yard passing day.

they werent prepared because they (like 30 other teams and millions of pundits, analysts, and fans) didnt think it was remotely possible.

lesson learned. same mistake wont be made vs manning and the broncos.

stb_steeler
04-21-2012, 04:19 PM
Lets hope Curtis Painter gets a few starts.....:rofl:

tony hipchest
04-21-2012, 04:23 PM
when joe flacco saw that the ravens signed painter, even he raised his eyebrow.

stb_steeler
04-21-2012, 04:24 PM
U mean the one that he only has....lol

Fire Arians
04-21-2012, 04:51 PM
we're good at corners. ike / lewis should be a good #1 and #2 and i'm expecting big things from allen and brown. Actually really looking forward to seeing them battle it out in training camp for the #3 spot.

cortez was able to shadow gronkowski vs the pats which speaks bounds about his potential

in the secondary, i don't think it will make much sense to draft a corner, unless a top 15 talent drops to us somehow. I certainly wouldn't be mad if we picked someone like kirkpatrick in rd 1 if he falls that far, though I think safety is more of an issue because troy and clark are getting up there in years. I'm not sold on mundy and allen to step in and be starters.

tanda10506
04-22-2012, 01:12 AM
Allen and Brown have both looked good when they get chances to play. Allen especially. Lewis is a good nickle corner and I could definetly see Lewis going to #3 and Allen moving to #2.

Steelersfan87
04-22-2012, 02:10 AM
Lewis played outside, not nickel, when he came in.

MACH1
04-22-2012, 02:16 AM
Given the way Troy plays and his concussion history he won't be playing much longer.

Thats my biggest worry. Troy matters.

Rick5895
04-22-2012, 04:44 AM
we're good at corners. ike / lewis should be a good #1 and #2 and i'm expecting big things from allen and brown. Actually really looking forward to seeing them battle it out in training camp for the #3 spot.

cortez was able to shadow gronkowski vs the pats which speaks bounds about his potential

in the secondary, i don't think it will make much sense to draft a corner, unless a top 15 talent drops to us somehow. I certainly wouldn't be mad if we picked someone like kirkpatrick in rd 1 if he falls that far, though I think safety is more of an issue because troy and clark are getting up there in years. I'm not sold on mundy and allen to step in and be starters.

I think we will be good in the secondary as well, although I think the battle for the #2 CB spot is between Brown and Allen. I think Lewis remains at #3. I am hopeful that Role turns out to be a steal and provides solid back up play at Safety.

Steelers5895
04-22-2012, 10:54 AM
I like what I see from our secondary. If we can put pressure on QBs it will help it even more. I am thankful McFadden is gone. What a complete loss of ability with him. Not sure what happened but he lost his ability to play football. William Gay played well last year but was a below average DB at best and he will show that on his new team.

Both Brown and Allen have a decent upside, we still know nothing about either and Lewis was solid and will be a solid #2 cb.

mesaSteeler
04-22-2012, 10:55 AM
Good Secondary? Be still my beating heart. We tied for 24th in the league in the number of interceptions. We had only 11 and worst team only had 8.

Good Secondary? We returned exactly ZERO interceptions and we tied the worst teams in the league in this regard.


Good Secondary? Our longest interception return was only 33 yards which ranked an exulted 27th in the league.

Good Secondary? Our intercepted return yards were only 99 yards which ranked an awesome 30th in the league.

Good Secondary? The best statistic we had was pass defensed which ranked an awe inspiring 14th in the league.

Hands of stone Taylor can't intercept a cold and Troy is one concussion away from never playing again. We will be lucky if we get 8 uninjured games out of Troy given his history during the last five years

By the way our give away/take away ratio last year was a pulse pounding -13; the worst in the AFC and 28th in the league.

Good Secondary? Our secondary is not even barely adequate. We need to spend a high draft pick on it again. Then again I guess that we can always draft another linebacker with a number one pick and have our secondary be in the toilet again this year.

Timbo
04-22-2012, 11:10 AM
U mean the one that he only has....lol

I have read this sentence at least 300 times. I am convinced this is what the term 'internet gold' was coined for. Something this poetically mind-melting could only come from a person of true power and experience, such as a team owner. I imagine the Rooney's have bestowed similar wisdom upon our beloved Steeler franchise over the past 8 decades. Thank you for this.

tanda10506
04-22-2012, 02:09 PM
Good Secondary? Be still my beating heart. We tied for 24th in the league in the number of interceptions. We had only 11 and worst team only had 8.

Good Secondary? We returned exactly ZERO interceptions and we tied the worst teams in the league in this regard.


Good Secondary? Our longest interception return was only 33 yards which ranked an exulted 27th in the league.

Good Secondary? Our intercepted return yards were only 99 yards which ranked an awesome 30th in the league.

Good Secondary? The best statistic we had was pass defensed which ranked an awe inspiring 14th in the league.

Hands of stone Taylor can't intercept a cold and Troy is one concussion away from never playing again. We will be lucky if we get 8 uninjured games out of Troy given his history during the last five years

By the way our give away/take away ratio last year was a pulse pounding -13; the worst in the AFC and 28th in the league.

Good Secondary? Our secondary is not even barely adequate. We need to spend a high draft pick on it again. Then again I guess that we can always draft another linebacker with a number one pick and have our secondary be in the toilet again this year.

We had the number 1 pass defense despite the fact that we were rarely able to pressure the QB, so yes they are good.

Steelersfan87
04-22-2012, 02:27 PM
I refuse to believe that mesaSteeler is serious. What an unreasonably irrational tirade. You can't give up the fewest yards, yards per play, and points with a secondary that is less than good.

Goldsteel86
04-22-2012, 02:45 PM
I have read this sentence at least 300 times. I am convinced this is what the term 'internet gold' was coined for. Something this poetically mind-melting could only come from a person of true power and experience, such as a team owner. I imagine the Rooney's have bestowed similar wisdom upon our beloved Steeler franchise over the past 8 decades. Thank you for this.

Dude, no offense, get laid, rub one out or something, that s**t is too deep.

mesaSteeler
04-22-2012, 02:46 PM
I refuse to believe that mesaSteeler is serious. What an unreasonably irrational tirade. You can't give up the fewest yards, yards per play, and points with a secondary that is less than good.

Believe it! The only that is ridiculous is your ignorant stupidity.

Steelersfan87
04-22-2012, 03:16 PM
Do you actually think that an average secondary can finish first in the league in yards allowed, yards per play allowed, and points allowed? You clearly overvalue turnovers in characterizing the quality of the secondary.

Ike Taylor had two interceptions last year, and I don't recall him dropping any. The comments about his "stone hands" are getting old. And Polamalu started every game last year. Your arguments are nonsensical, yet you have the audacity to insult me.

ricardisimo
04-22-2012, 04:13 PM
Let's take a step back and tone it down, boys. Kindly warning.

FrancoLambert
04-22-2012, 04:41 PM
Let's take a step back and tone it down, boys. Kindly warning.

:applaudit:
Thank You!
Why did it get so nasty, so quickly.
A sign of the times....I guess. :noidea:

Timbo
04-22-2012, 05:10 PM
Dude, no offense, get laid, rub one out or something, that s**t is too deep.

Dude, you should see me, as long as it's Harrison I'll put my Woodley in her Taylor, Bro. Fist bump me!

tanda10506
04-22-2012, 07:25 PM
Believe it! The only that is ridiculous is your ignorant stupidity.

http://i1244.photobucket.com/albums/gg562/chopperscfl/badassphotobucket.png

Steelers5895
04-22-2012, 08:08 PM
Our secondary was solid last year. You dont see many big plays against them. Cant expect them to always stop the 10-12 yard plays. They held up well with minimal QB pressures. In fact I think our LB coverage was worse last year than our db coverage

zcoop
04-22-2012, 08:22 PM
Secondary play was fine, even though they were put in some tough situations with the offensinve turnovers. We had good overall coverage last year.

ricardisimo
04-22-2012, 09:20 PM
Our secondary was solid last year. You dont see many big plays against them. Cant expect them to always stop the 10-12 yard plays. They held up well with minimal QB pressures. In fact I think our LB coverage was worse last year than our db coverage
Some truth to that. I suspect that if the other seven had provided more consistent pressure, the DBs would have had the TOs Mesa's looking for. But when any starting QB in the league has all day to throw, he's going to complete passes.

A lot of the problem, though, was injuries, not personnel nor schemes. How many games did Harrison and Woodley miss?

Steelersfan87
04-22-2012, 09:25 PM
Indeed, quite a few. Harrison was not even 100% for the first 4 games and then he missed 5 more games due to injury and suspension. Woodley was never the same after the first half of the season because he didn't have enough time to recover. I suspect that the front 7 will have a better year this year than last year, though due to sheer odds, the secondary will probably not be as successful as last year, because they threw up several statistically significant numbers up last season.

Steel_Bus_24
04-22-2012, 09:25 PM
With influence of the younger guys our Secondary made a nice step in becoming an Good/Great unit.......

There +s and - to look at when judging last years unit

+
Held up well despite our LBs being hurt every other game....which really hurt our Pass Rush and Turnover Opportunties


-
I said this during the year, but look at the Qbs we faced....not exactly elite
Plus we were extremely fortunate, and caught many teams last year with their #1 WRs out.....

So again we made a nice step last year, and I think/hope we are decently better unit then the one that got trashed in SB XLV.......but we are probably another gem away from being an elite unit.....an will have to prove we can hold up against consistent High Level Qbs this year

Steelersfan87
04-23-2012, 02:10 AM
No secondary ever holds up consistently against elite passers.

ricardisimo
04-23-2012, 03:43 AM
No secondary ever holds up consistently against elite passers.
You mean like Tim Tebow?

Sorry... had to say it. :chuckle:

Hawaii 5-0
04-24-2012, 02:55 AM
Ready to battle for corner spot

Teresa Varley
Steelers.com


The minute unrestricted free agent Will Gay signed with the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, Keenan Lewis set his sights set on one thing and one thing only – winning Gay’s vacated starting left cornerback spot in the Steelers secondary.

“I just have to step up,” said Lewis. “I have to do what I have been doing. I have to improve what I did last year. Instead of just coming in on third down, I want to be out there on first, second and third down. I am really excited for the opportunity and I know it’s going to go the right way.”

Lewis is hard at work training in an effort to attain that goal, taking part in voluntary workouts at the team’s practice facility on a regular basis to ensure he is in the best shape possible to face the challenge of fighting for a starting spot.

“I have been working on my conditioning, just getting ready for the opportunity to go 60 minutes on the field,” said Lewis. “I want to be in shape, in top-notch shape so when I get to camp I am ready to get going, off and running.”

Lewis, who is entering his fourth season, saw the most extensive playing time of his career last year playing in all 16 games and making his first career start against Indianapolis in the nickel package.

“It helped a lot getting a feel for wide receivers and what quarterbacks are thinking,” said Lewis. “It helps you with your maturity level and learning the game more. It helps being out there on the field because you see more things. Instead of watching it on tape or in practice only, you see different receivers, what offensive coordinators do to try and beat defenses and you become more familiar with that.

“Now I am a step ahead and excited for the upcomoing season.”

Lewis will have some competition for the job, with second-year cornerbacks Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown both expected to be in the mix as well.

“I just need to keep doing what I do,” said Lewis. “I just have to get better. I am going to take whatever they have for me and embrace it and get better at that. I know right now it’s my time. I have to get better and better every day. I work hard and I know God will reward me for my hard work.

“Those two young guys are good guys who have a lot of potential and skills, so I know it’s going to be a battle. I am just trying to be one of the top ones in the bunch.”

Brown played in 12 games as a rookie, seeing action only on special teams. Allen played in 15 games, on special teams and in defensive packages, gaining valuable experience as a rookie that he hopes plays in his favor in the battle for the starting position.

“That was the goal last year, the goal this year, and the goal always to be a starter and contribute wherever coach (Dick) LeBeau and defensive staff feel I am best at,” said Allen. “I am going in there to give my best and everything else should fall into place.

“The playing time I got last year helps a lot because I got a chance to get in-game experience and see what it’s like to be in that arena not just on special teams but on defense. Gaining a little bit of confidence from your teammates is always a plus too because they have seen me out there and know what I can do. They have confidence in me as well as the coaching staff. That helped a lot as far as the mental and physical standpoint, just getting a feel for the game. I am just looking to improve on that this year.”

Despite being young, and not having the starting experience at this high of a level playing collegiately at The Citadel, Allen is confident he can handle the responsibility that comes with playing cornerback in the NFL.

“That is why I do it,” said Allen. “I love the position. It’s a position that carries a lot of pressure, a lot of weight on your shoulders. It’s very competitive. I love the competitiveness of it. I am in here, focused and ready to learn from as many people as I can so I can contribute as best as I can. I think I am making progress mentally and working on the physical part of it now.”

http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Ready-to-battle-for-corner-spot/3a8d5e6a-c446-42d7-98e4-3be75b047c66

ricardisimo
04-24-2012, 03:06 AM
I think these three have truckloads of potential. Ike should give us at least another couple years to develop them into starters, so let's see.

ANDYMISIU
04-24-2012, 08:33 AM
I wouldn't mind some veteran help at CB. I'm not saying he has to start and I'm not saying he has to be high priced, I would just like to see an experienced CB compete with our younger guys. The reason being that if our guys don't mature as hoped... secondary could easily become an issue. I wouldn't be so sold on the "we're ok" statement just yet.

Hawaii 5-0
04-24-2012, 04:27 PM
On the spot: Steelers CB Keenan Lewis

By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
April 24, 2012

We're continuing our series in which we feature one player from each AFC North team who is "On the spot" leading up to the NFL draft. That's a player who is holding a starting job now, but could lose it depending on how his team drafts.

Who he's replacing: William Gay, an unrestricted free agent who signed with the Arizona Cardinals. Last season, Gay started 15 games for the Steelers and finished the regular season with 56 tackles -- 45 solo -- with two interceptions.

NFL résumé: Lewis was a 2009 third-round pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers out of Oregon State, and has made only one career NFL start. Last year, he showed that he can be a playmaker, sealing a 13-9 victory at Kansas City with a leaping interception with 28 seconds remaining. But he has also been undisciplined, getting benched by coach Mike Tomlin in the 2010 preseason after he gave up an eight-yard catch to Brandon Lloyd and then proceeded to knee him.

Analysis from Matt Williamson, of Scouts Inc.: The Steelers have a formula at cornerback. They draft them in the mid rounds (as they did a year ago and with Ike Taylor) and allow them to make their bones on special teams while learning the "Steeler Way." I doubt that trend changes in this draft class. Losing Gay does open up a spot for someone to step up, but that could be Lewis or one of the mid-round picks from a year ago. I am betting that Pittsburgh uses yet another third or fourth round pick on the position with the exact same strategy in mind.

http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/46605/on-the-spot-steelers-cb-keenan-lewis

Riddle_Of_Steel
04-24-2012, 11:47 PM
I don't think our secondary is as good as some of you are making it out to be.

The numbers were skewed, because teams had success running the ball against us this last year, and the number of passing attempts dropped drastically as a result. Teams saw the way Ray Rice and Arian Foster dropped over a hundred yards on us and called plays accordingly.

We got burned 3 times on the EXACT SAME PLAY by one of the worst QBs to ever suit up for a game, sending us home early.

Unless you guys saw something that I did not from watching Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen, and Brown playing the nickel and dime against #4 WRs, I think our secondary is ONCE AGAIN going to be one of this team's weaknesses.

Want to hang your hat on our #1 ranking against the pass? The Chargers were #1 in overall defense, against the run, and against the pass in 2010, and they finished 8-8.

Steelersfan87
04-25-2012, 12:20 AM
The secondary wasn't just tops in yards allowed, they also gave up the fewest yards per play (which they have done in 4 of the past 5 years). No matter how bad the run defense was (and they were 8th best in the league; comparing them to the historically great run defense from 2010 would be absurd), giving up the fewest yards per play completely discounts how many actual passing plays they faced. They also had the lowest QBR against, also irrelevant to the number of plays. They also did this with a below average year from their front seven.

Also, when Keenan Lewis entered the game, he did not play the nickel position.

The Steelers faced 593 passes in 2010, 530 in 2011, or just under 4 fewer per game.

Fire Arians
04-25-2012, 12:50 AM
I don't think our secondary is as good as some of you are making it out to be.

The numbers were skewed, because teams had success running the ball against us this last year, and the number of passing attempts dropped drastically as a result. Teams saw the way Ray Rice and Arian Foster dropped over a hundred yards on us and called plays accordingly.

We got burned 3 times on the EXACT SAME PLAY by one of the worst QBs to ever suit up for a game, sending us home early.

Unless you guys saw something that I did not from watching Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen, and Brown playing the nickel and dime against #4 WRs, I think our secondary is ONCE AGAIN going to be one of this team's weaknesses.

Want to hang your hat on our #1 ranking against the pass? The Chargers were #1 in overall defense, against the run, and against the pass in 2010, and they finished 8-8.

that denver game was mostly on lebeau. he failed to change the defense after ike taylor kept getting burned

shitty outcome but the game plan was to stack the box and make tebow beat us. who would have thought he would have?

tbh though, after ike got burned the 2nd time we should have adjusted the defense, but didn't. taylor is a good corner but he's not a shutdown corner.

ricardisimo
04-26-2012, 06:34 AM
I don't think our secondary is as good as some of you are making it out to be.

The numbers were skewed, because teams had success running the ball against us this last year, and the number of passing attempts dropped drastically as a result. Teams saw the way Ray Rice and Arian Foster dropped over a hundred yards on us and called plays accordingly.

We got burned 3 times on the EXACT SAME PLAY by one of the worst QBs to ever suit up for a game, sending us home early.

Unless you guys saw something that I did not from watching Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen, and Brown playing the nickel and dime against #4 WRs, I think our secondary is ONCE AGAIN going to be one of this team's weaknesses.

Want to hang your hat on our #1 ranking against the pass? The Chargers were #1 in overall defense, against the run, and against the pass in 2010, and they finished 8-8.
The Chargers have Norv Turner as head coach, and if anyone can pull defeat from the jaws of victory, it's him. As far as teams having success running the ball against us... not so much. We were 8th against the run, in a field where only San Fran stuck out as excellent. Functionally we were tied for 2nd or 3rd.

Gay stepped up, and the coaches used him well. There's no need to discuss that issue any further. As far as this year, most CBs really start to get it in their 2nd and 3rd years, which bodes well for our crew. We'll see.

Fire Arians
04-26-2012, 12:50 PM
the thing that really impressed me with cortez allen is this year the rookies didn't even have a full training camp, but he still came in and produced.