2013 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

Josh MorganApr 22 09:52a

Chicago Bears WR Joshua Morgan is likely to compete for the No. 3 or 4 wide receiver role this year, and he'll compete with WRs Domenik Hixon, Eric Weems [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 09:33a

New York Giants FS Will Hill is facing a year-long suspension after reportedly failing another drug test. He will appeal what would be his third drug-related suspension.

Kyle WilliamsApr 21 09:33p

The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed WR Kyle Williams Monday, April 21. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Colt AndersonApr 21 07:12p

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent FS Colt Anderson (Eagles) to an undisclosed deal Monday, April 21.

Jamar TaylorApr 21 06:43p

Miami Dolphins CB Jamar Taylor (groin) is healthy following hernia surgery and began offseason workouts with his teammates Monday, April 21. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said he expects [ More ]

Dustin KellerApr 21 05:42p

Eugene Parker, agent for free-agent TE Dustin Keller (knee), said Keller is ready to participate in offseason workouts when he signs with a team.

Eric FisherApr 21 05:12p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) said there is no timetable for his return following multiple surgeries, but he doesn't think he'll be out for long. 'He's [ More ]

Josh MorganApr 21 04:02p

The Chicago Bears have signed free-agent WR Joshua Morgan (Redskins) to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A.J. GreenApr 21 03:32p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green said he has added around six pounds this offseason, because he wants to be more physical as a way to beat coverage at the [ More ]

Michael VickApr 21 02:42p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith said he believes he will be the starting quarterback this upcoming season even though the team added QB Michael Vick this offseason. He [ More ]

Navorro BowmanApr 21 02:12p

The San Francisco 49ers plan to place LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) on the Physically Unable to Perform list when training camp begins, because he is not expected to be [ More ]

Eric FisherApr 21 02:02p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) underwent shoulder surgery and had a procedure to fix a sports hernia. He's currently rehabbing in Kansas City.

Tony CarterApr 21 01:22p

The Denver Broncos signed DT Mitch Unrein to his restricted free-agent tender Monday, April 21. CB Tony Carter, SS Duke Ihenacho and LB Brandon M. Marshall all signed their exclusive rights tenders.

Rolando McClainApr 21 01:02p

Baltimore Ravens LB Rolando McClain is retiring from the NFL again Monday, April 21. 'I gotta follow my heart. It ain't football. If football made me complete I would [ More ]

Tony RomoApr 21 12:42p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) will take part in the team's voluntary offseason program beginning Monday, April 21, according to a source. Players are allowed to lift weights, [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreApr 20 09:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) is not expected to be restricted in any way when offseason workouts begin.

Michael EgnewApr 20 08:42p

The Miami Dolphins likely will add at least two more tight ends this offseason that will compete with TE Michael Egnew for a roster spot.

Armon BinnsApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Armon Binns is currently the team's No. 4 receiver, but the Dolphins have had discussions about WR Rishard Matthews replacing Binns at the spot, according to a source.

Tyrone CrawfordApr 20 12:02a

Dallas Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford (Achilles') is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, and he is expected to be a key piece to the defense this season.

M. Jones-DrewApr 20 12:02a

If healthy, Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is expected to be the team's starting tailback with RB Maurice Jones-Drew as his backup.

Brian HartlineApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (knee) is expected to be ready for the start of mini camp, according to a source. He suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the 2013 regular season finale.

Terrelle PryorApr 19 01:02p

The Oakland Raiders will release QB Terrelle Pryor if they are not able to trade him by Monday, April 21.

LaMichael JamesApr 19 12:22p

The Kansas City Chiefs could consider pursuing San Francisco 49ers RB LaMichael James if he could become a slot receiver. The team likely would not have interest in James [ More ]

Matt HasselbeckApr 19 12:22p

Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck plans to retire after the 2014 season.

Asa JacksonApr 19 12:12p

Baltimore Ravens CBs Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson are expected to compete for the No. 3 cornerback job during training camp. If the team takes a cornerback in one [ More ]

Michael FordApr 19 11:32a

The Chicago Bears probably will select a running back in the later rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft to compete with RB Michael Ford for the No. 2 running [ More ]

Jordan PalmerApr 19 09:52a

The Chicago Bears could target a quarterback in the late rounds of the NFL Draft or in free agency to provide competition for backup QB Jordan Palmer.

Cam NewtonApr 19 09:32a

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ankle) remains in a walking boot about a month after ankle surgery. The team is hopeful Newton will be ready to go for training camp.

Michael RobinsonApr 19 12:02a

The Seattle Seahawks have not tried to re-sign free-agent FB Michael Robinson this offseason.

Russell AllenApr 18 11:42p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released LB Russell Allen (concussion) after he failed a physical.

Kendrick LewisApr 18 08:32p

Houston Texans FS Kendrick Lewis and SS Chris D. Clemons are expected to compete for the starting free safety job during training camp.

Trent RichardsonApr 18 08:22p

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said it will be important for RB Trent Richardson to participate in all of the offseason workouts so he can get more comfortable [ More ]

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