2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Steelers secondary hoping to stay in top spot

By DAN SCIFO - Associated Press
    2013-08-02 16:38

LATROBE, Pa. (AP) - The Pittsburgh Steeler cornerbacks are trying their best to forget about last year.

It isn't because the group endured a poor season. Not by a longshot.

The Steelers finished with the best pass defense in the NFL in 2012. And now they want to do it again.

``It's 2013 now, so what you did in the past.who cares?'' cornerback William Gay said. ``You have to come back and work even harder to try and get back to that level.''

It might be difficult at first after coach Mike Tomlin announced Friday that Cortez Allen underwent surgery on his right knee and will miss a couple of weeks. Allen, the team's 2011 fourth-round draft pick, was expected to slide into the starting role opposite long-time Steelers' cornerback Ike Taylor when the season opened.

``We wanted to get the surgery done now so he can begin rehabilitating immediately,'' Tomlin said. ``This surgery was a minor procedure and will have no long-term effects on his return to the field.''

The Steelers lost last year's starter Keenan Lewis after he inked a free agent deal with New Orleans in March.

Allen, in his third year out of The Citadel, made a big leap in his second season as the team's nickel back. He appeared in 15 games the past two seasons, making three starts last year, but missed the previous three training camp practices this week because of knee soreness.

Gay, who re-signed with Pittsburgh as a free agent in March after spending a year in Arizona, will start until Allen returns, and them, move to nickel back.

``It's a highly-competitive group and we demand a lot of each other,'' Allen said. ``We have the talent to be the No. 1 secondary again. That's what we work on every day and that's the goal.''

Taylor enters his 11th year looking to put a disappointing end to last season behind him. Taylor started the first 12 games of the season in 2012 before a broken right ankle put him on the sideline for the rest of the year, snapping a streak of 135 consecutive games played.

``It's frustrating sitting out with the ankle injury I had last year,'' Taylor said. ``All your life, you've been playing football and now you can't play because of an injury.

``It was a different experience for me, and hopefully, God willing, it doesn't happen again.''

Allen, the team's top reserve cornerback last season, benefited from Taylor's injury with the first three starts of his career. His impact was immediate. He caused five turnovers -- two interceptions and three forced fumbles -- during the final two games of the season.

``It was a great opportunity, but under an unfortunate situation with Ike injured,'' Allen said. ``I prepare every day as if I was the starter. That way it's not a surprise or shock when you get in there.''

Lewis was a key component to the Steelers' secondary last season, enjoying a career year in his first season as a starter. Lewis started all 16 games and finished with 69 tackles and 23 passes deflected. That was enough to earn Lewis a five-year, $26.3 million contract from New Orleans.

``I'm happy for (Lewis). He got paid,'' Taylor said. ``But he was a big part why we were the No. 1 pass defense. He stepped in and we didn't lose a beat, so hopefully we can get the same thing this year.''

Taylor is convinced Allen can do the job when he returns.

``I have a lot of faith in Cortez,'' Taylor said. ``He took tremendous strides from last year to this year. He played a lot of nickel and wound up starting on the outside when I got hurt, so that gave him a lot of experience at the nickel and the outside.''

It's part of the reason Taylor believes the cornerbacks have the opportunity to help the Steelers finish atop the league again this season. The loss of Lewis is substantial, but Allen's maturation and Gay's return have Taylor optimistic.

``Anything you do in life, you're still trying to be No. 1,'' Taylor said. ``We've been No. 1, but regardless of what people say, we're still striving. Our goal is to be No. 1 in the league. That's what we strive for.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Charles JohnsonAug 31 08:12p

The Cleveland Browns have placed WR Charles X. Johnson, OT Martin Wallace and OG Karim Barton on no-recall waivers.

Daryl RichardsonAug 31 07:22p

The New York Jets signed free-agents DT Tevita Finau, DL Kerry Hyder, SS Rontez Miles, TE Chris Pantale, OT Brent Qvale, RB Daryl Richardson and QB Matt Simms to [ More ]

Alex SmithAug 31 07:02p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith has agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $68 million with $45 million guaranteed.

Mike KafkaAug 31 05:02p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have added TE Cameron Brate, RB Jeff Demps, QB Mike Kafka, LB Brandon Magee, DT Matthew Masifilo and WR Solomon Patton to their practice squad.

Michael CoxAug 31 04:42p

The New York Giants have signed RB Michael Cox, CB Bennett Jackson, CB Chandler Fenner, LB Dan Fox, DE Jordan Stanton, WR Julian Talley and OT Nick Becton to their practice squad.

Rex GrossmanAug 31 04:23p

The Cleveland Browns have released QB Rex Grossman, according to a source.

Michael EgnewAug 31 04:12p

The Detroit Lions have signed TE Michael Egnew and RB George Winn to their practice squad.

Benson MayowaAug 31 04:12p

The Oakland Raiders have claimed DE Benson Mayowa off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks.

Ryan JensenAug 31 03:42p

The Baltimore Ravens will sign QB Keith Wenning, CB Tramain Jacobs, TE Phillip Supernaw, LB John Simon, RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, DT AJ Pataialii and OG Ryan Jensen to their [ More ]

A.Q. ShipleyAug 31 03:32p

The Indianapolis Colts have claimed OG A.Q. Shipley off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens.

Jeff TuelAug 31 03:22p

The Buffalo Bills have signed S Deon Broomfield, DE Bryan Johnson, S Kenny Ladler, QB Jeff Tuel, LB Jimmy Gaines, WR Caleb Holley and DL Ikponmwosa Igbinosun to their practice squad.

Kapri BibbsAug 31 03:12p

The Denver Broncos have signed LB Shaquil Barrett, RB Kapri Bibbs, FS John Boyett, QB Zac Dysert, WR Bennie Fowler, OT Vinston Painter, WR Nathan Palmer, C Matt Paradis [ More ]

Lawrence OkoyeAug 31 03:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have added DL Lawrence Okoye and LB Shayne Skov to their practice squad.

Travian RobertsonAug 31 03:02p

The Atlanta Falcons have signed CB Ricardo Allen, FS Sean Baker, OG Harland Gunn, OL Terren Jones, WR Bernard Reedy, DL Travian Robertson, LB Jacques Smith and RB Jerome Smith to the practice squad.

Myles WhiteAug 31 02:52p

The Green Bay Packers have signed S Chris Banjo, WR Myles White, CB Jumal Rolle, TE Justin Perillo and OL Jeremy Vujnovich to their practice squad.

Tim DobbinsAug 31 02:43p

The Atlanta Falcons have claimed LB Nathan Stupar off waivers from the Jacksonivlle Jaguars and placed him on their 53-man roster, according to a league source. In a corresponding [ More ]

Ryan MallettAug 31 02:12p

The Houston Texans have acquired QB Ryan Mallett from the New England Patriots, in exchange for a sixth-round pick, according to multiple sources.

Ryan SeymourAug 31 01:02p

The Cleveland Browns claimed free-agent OG Ryan Seymour (49ers) off waivers Sunday, Aug. 31.

Michael SamAug 31 12:12p

Free-agent DE Michael Sam (Rams) reportedly cleared waivers and is free to sign with any team.

Josh KadduAug 31 03:22a

To get its roster down to 53 players on Saturday, Aug. 30, the Philadelphia Eagles released OT Kevin Graf, FS Keelan Johnson, LB Josh Kaddu, DT Wade Keliikipi and WR Will Murphy.

Wes WelkerAug 31 12:12a

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) will increase his activity level when the team returns to practice Monday, Sept. 1.

Khaled HolmesAug 30 11:52p

Indianapolis Colts C Khaled Holmes (ankle) is one of five offensive linemen on the team that is currently dealing with an injury, and Mike Wells of ESPN.com believes the [ More ]

Alfonso SmithAug 30 10:42p

San Francisco 49ers RB Alfonso Smith was released Saturday, Aug. 30.

Tyler BrayAug 30 09:52p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Tyler Bray (undisclosed) and WR Kyle Williams (shoulder) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Aug. 30.

Jamarca SanfordAug 30 09:52p

Minnesota Vikings OT Antonio Richardson (undisclosed) and S Jamarca Sanford (undisclosed) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Aug. 30.

A.J. McCarronAug 30 09:42p

Cincinnati Bengals QB A.J. McCarron (shoulder) was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list Saturday, Aug. 30.

Jamar ChaneyAug 30 09:32p

Denver Broncos LB Jamar Chaney (undisclosed) was released from Denver's Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement Saturday, Aug. 30.

Vincent BrownAug 30 09:22p

San Diego Chargers WR Vincent Brown (calf) was placed on no-recall waivers with a waived/injured designation Saturday, Aug. 30.

Steve BeauharnaisAug 30 09:02p

New England Patriots LB Steve Beauharnais (undisclosed) was placed on no-recall waivers after reaching an injury settlement Saturday, Aug. 30.

Andrew TillerAug 30 08:52p

Green Bay Packers OG Andrew Tiller (calf) and LB Joseph Thomas (knee) were placed on no-recall waivers after being released from Green Bay's Reserve/Injured list with injury settlements Saturday, Aug. 30.

Rajion NealAug 30 08:42p

Green Bay Packers RB Rajion Neal (knee) was placed on no-recall waivers after being released from Green Bay's Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement Saturday, Aug. 30.

Shaun ChapasAug 30 07:52p

Baltimore Ravens RB Shaun Chapas (undisclosed) was waived from the Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group