Big things are expected in 2014 out of Pittsburgh Steelers fourth-year cornerback Cortez Allen.
Allen, who is expected to start the season opposite Ike Taylor this season, talked recently about the progress he’s made over the course of the offseason practices.
“I feel a lot more comfortable, being on the outside in the starting position,” said Allen during the team’s minicamp. “I feel like I got my feet under me a lot more. It’s still a work in progress. There is still a lot of room for improvement.”
Minor injuries hampered Allen last season and he hopes that he can pick up this season where he left off last season now that he’s fully healthy.
“The main thing for me is staying healthy,” said Allen. “The better I do that, the better I get. I think I progressively got better throughout the season. The past few years I have finished strong. I would just like to start where I finish as far as being able to be consistent on the field without any hiccups.”
Allen has trained with Taylor the past few seasons in Florida under the watchful eye of renowned trainer Tom Shaw and he said that his sessions this year were a little more intense as opposed to previous years.
“Usually you don’t get to that extreme stuff until later in the summer. It started earlier this year. And the way we have been doing it has been different, but has been good. It’s helped me.”
As far as the parts of his game that Allen is looking to improve on this year, the Citadel product listed a few of them that he believes will help make him a better cornerback.
“My tackling could have improved last year, minor technique stuff with that. Also focus on overall my eyes. That is something Coach (Carnell) Lake always talks about; make sure your eyes are where they are supposed to be,” he said.
After three weeks of OTA practices and two days of minicamp, Allen believes the defense has improved in two key areas.
“I think our communication has been really good,” said the Steelers former fourth-round draft pick. “I think on a physical standpoint, we’ve been running to the ball well and when we do that, good things happen.”
When the final minicamp practice concludes on Thursday, Allen indicated that he will be headed back to Florida to continue getting himself ready for Latrobe.
“I need to stay on the up rise, head back down to Tom Shaw and get back to work. I want to make sure I come into training camp in the best physical and mental shape I can be in.”