The Pittsburgh Steelers head into their second preseason game Monday night against the Washington Redskins with several cornerbacks still battling for spots on the 53 man roster. Here is a look at each of those five players battling for two or three spots.
Curtis Brown – Brown is probably already a lock for the fourth cornerback spot, but he needs erase any doubts about it against the Redskins. He will likely make his preseason debut Monday night after missing the opener last week because of an ankle injury. Brown is perhaps the best special teams player the Steelers have right now on their roster and he needs to show that he can\’t be challenged in that part of his game Monday night. Look for Brown to replace Ike Taylor at right outside cornerback in this game and also look for him to be tested quite a bit as well.
Isaiah Green – Judging by the latest depth chart released this past week, Green\’s play in the preseason opener against the New York Giants was enough to bump him ahead of Josh Victorian. Head coach Mike Tomlin says not to read too much into the changes, but it\’s hard not to. Last week against the Giants, Green played 41 snaps and didn\’t give up a reception the three times he was targeted. He also was credited with a pass defensed on one of those three targets. As far as his special teams play, Green recorded one tackle on punt coverage.
Josh Victorian – Victorian is still very much in the running for a roster spot, but he didn\’t necessarily have his best game last week against the Giants. While the former undrafted free agent did have four tackles in the game, two of them came after he allowed completions. In total, he Victorian targeted six times in the game and allowed three catches for 42 yards with a long of 20 yards. Expect to see both he and Green together quite a bit together Monday night.
Terry Hawthorne – Hawthorne finally made it back to the practice field this past week, but it is still unknown whether or not he will suit up for the Monday night game against the Redskins as he apparently still has a noticeable limp. Should the Illinois product miss yet another game, he would fall even further behind both Victorian and Green. The Steelers could decide to keep six cornerbacks in total on their 53 man roster and that would likely be his only hope. More than anything at this point, Hawthorne needs to show he can be a prime contributor on special teams while displaying the upside at the cornerback position that led to the Steelers selecting him in the fifth round back in April.
DeMarcus Van Dyke – Van Dyke will likely miss his second straight preseason game with a hamstring injury suffered late in July. Since being claimed off waivers from the Oakland Raiders just prior to the start of the 2012 season, he has yet to play a snap on defense in a game and that is concerning. The former third-round draft pick has excellent size and speed, but unless he gets on the field soon to show it, he will be out the door almost one year to the day that he entered it.