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Old 05-14-2012, 05:12 PM   #1
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Default Steelers CBs Bringing A New Dynamic To The Table

Steelers Cornerbacks Bringing A New Dynamic To The Table

Monday, May 14th, 2012 by Cian Fahey



Prior to last season, I wrote that Keenan Lewis would add a new dynamic to the Steelers defense, even though he wasn't a full-time starter, Lewis did do that playing the outside position in the team's nickel defense. What I didn't realize at the time was that Lewis was only the first step in a certain revamping of the Steelers' style.

Over the past few years, the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense has been led by shorter more agile cornerbacks to fit their zone scheme. With players like Deshea Townsend, Bryant McFadden and William Gay on the roster, the rangy Ike Taylor was the exception rather than the rule for Steelers' cornerbacks.

Townsend, McFadden and Gay were all pivotal parts of Super Bowl teams, but limited in man coverage as the Steelers' 3-4 defense didn't ask them to play too much man coverage. The biggest difference between cornerbacks of the Steelers' recent past and the current crop of corners is their length.

Ike Taylor is the only constant between the Steelers' old cornerbacks and the current crop. Taylor stands at 6-2 and easily towered above Townsend, 5-10, Gay 5-10 and McFadden 6-0. The tallest corner out of the old guard is the same height as the shortest corners on the Steelers' current roster.

Lewis and Curtis Brown are listed at 6-0 while Cortez Allen is 6-1.

Those may seem like minimal discrepancies but can make a massive difference on the football field. This is something that stood out as quickly as last season when the Patriots arrived in Pittsburgh. During that game, Allen showed off his size and physicality to essentially shut down Rob Gronkowski. However, that was not the only notable performance that day.

That day Dick LeBeau, whether it be through injuries or choice, drastically altered the style of his defense to pressure the Patriots with his rangy cornerbacks and give his pass rushers a chance to disrupt the timing of the Patriots offense.

In the past, Tom Brady had come to Pittsburgh and easily picked apart the Steelers' zone coverage as the team's corners and safeties were slower mentally to react to Brady's quick decision making and precise throws. This year, the Steelers corners were able to focus on their assignments with greater ease because they were less complex.

The Steelers now have the personnel to play the "pick'em" defense. The idea that defenders can just point to an attacker and say "He's mine." With four cornerbacks capable of competing with receivers' size and speed, the Steelers will be better suited to play more man coverage and even shift their defenders into press coverage.

The ability to play press coverage on defense is as valuable as an established running game is to an offense. Press coverage, when done well, tightens throwing windows and disrupts the timing of routes. It takes longer for the ball to come out of the pocket giving rushers more opportunities to get into the backfield.

Most importantly however, it allows intelligent safeties to take advantage of less complex defensive schemes. It is no coincidence that Ryan Clark had one of his better years last year in the Black and Gold uniform. Clark is a very intelligent footballer and with better coverage ahead of him, and complex zone assignments, Clark was able to get to his first Pro Bowl.

The Steelers are fortunate—or rather owe an awful lot to the outstanding drafting of GM Kevin Colbert—that the new crop of corners have a lot of scheme versatility. They may not excel in zone coverage the way Deshea Townsend and Bryant McFadden did, but they are certainly better there than the old cornerbacks were at man coverage.

Watching the development of Brown and Allen in particular, as well as Lewis, next year is going to be a fascinating venture.

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/05...-to-the-table/
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers CBs Bringing A New Dynamic To The Table

I didn't know this... "Lewis and Curtis Brown are listed at 6-0 while Cortez Allen is 6-1"

Just never looked at it I guess.
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers CBs Bringing A New Dynamic To The Table

I have high hopes for Brown I think he can be our next best corner in Pittsburgh.
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers CBs Bringing A New Dynamic To The Table

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Originally Posted by Galax Steeler View Post
I have high hopes for Brown I think he can be our next best corner in Pittsburgh.
he probably is the best athlete out of all of them, potential's there.

he's quick enough to cover the shifty slot wr's and his vertical leap is insane. i think he's best suited to be our nickel guy but i won't be surprised if he's eventually the #2 corner. lewis and allen will give some stiff competition though, this offseason will be interesting for both OL and CB units

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Old 05-14-2012, 07:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers CBs Bringing A New Dynamic To The Table

Vertical jumps from some of our DBs and none slower the 4.51 40 times.

ike Taylor 40
Curtis Brown 39.5 -Broad jump close to 11'
Keenan Lewis 38.5 -Broad jump close to 11'
Cortez Allen 37.5 -Broad jump close to 11'
Robert Golden UDFA 37.5

All nicely athletic to hopefully play that way.
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers CBs Bringing A New Dynamic To The Table

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he probably is the best athlete out of all of them, potential's there.

he's quick enough to cover the shifty slot wr's and his vertical leap is insane. i think he's best suited to be our nickel guy but i won't be surprised if he's eventually the #2 corner. lewis and allen will give some stiff competition though, this offseason will be interesting for both OL and CB units

That pic is amazing^^. I'm very concerned with the Steelers CB situation (who will be #2) but hopefully the coaches will have a tough job ahead choosing who is best due to amazing skill!
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers CBs Bringing A New Dynamic To The Table

solid number 1

and 3 players who could be a quality number 2.


i like it.


big fan of cortez allen.



any chance golden sticks in the secondary?
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Old 05-15-2012, 03:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers CBs Bringing A New Dynamic To The Table

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any chance golden sticks in the secondary?

Looking at youtube stuf on Robert Golden I really like his man to man skills. Seems to have a bad rap about zone playing even being called clueless by one analysis. But his man to man ability may impress the Steelers enough to use him inside but being that he's listed as a safety one must wonder if he could play zone well enough. I like what I see out of him a lot more then Terrence Frederick though and believe Golden might be a better corner then safety.
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers CBs Bringing A New Dynamic To The Table

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Originally Posted by Kingmagyar View Post
Vertical jumps from some of our DBs and none slower the 4.51 40 times.

ike Taylor 40
Curtis Brown 39.5 -Broad jump close to 11'
Keenan Lewis 38.5 -Broad jump close to 11'
Cortez Allen 37.5 -Broad jump close to 11'
Robert Golden UDFA 37.5

All nicely athletic to hopefully play that way.
Let's all hope that this athleticism somehow leads to more interceptions.
Hopefully their hands are as good as their legs.
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Old 05-16-2012, 02:25 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers CBs Bringing A New Dynamic To The Table

Top 10 Position Battles to Watch in Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp

By Nick DeWitt (Featured Columnist) on May 15, 2012



Second Cornerback Combatants

Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown

Analysis

This is going to be the battle that gets the most attention. It means the most to a defense that has always been maligned for its corner play. Many fans and analysts, including myself, didn't want William Gay back.

Now, we have to live with that reality.

Lewis has the experience. Allen and Brown have the skill sets. The battle is anyone's guess right now. Brown didn't play a defensive snap last season. That doesn't mean he's out. He was a playmaker in college.

Lewis would be the natural heir, but he is so valuable at the nickel spot that the team might want to keep him there. If that happens, two second-year players will battle to be a starter. That's a scary, but intriguing thought.

Winner

In the scenario where Lewis ascends the ladder, I'd say Brown becomes the nickel guy. If they keep Lewis in his spot, I would say that Brown wins the starting job. It's hard to ignore his ability to make big plays, something the Steelers lack at cornerback.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1...g-camp/page/10
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