Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen played so poorly Sunday in the win over the Indianapolis Colts that it resulted in him being benched late in the fourth quarter in favor of Antwon Blake. During his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked whether or not he still has confidence in his struggling cornerback.
“I do and not only did I reiterate that to Cortez after the game, I also reiterated that to him within the game,” said Tomlin. “I was doing what I thought was necessary for us to win the football game, but it has no bearing in terms of what I think he’s capable of largely, or in the long term.
“He’s got to lick his wounds, roll his sleeves up and come back to work this week and we’ll watch him closely and expect him to do it, and answer the bell that comes with putting bad stuff on tape.”
With Allen currently going through an incredibly rough time right now, Tomlin hopes that the senior member of the Steelers secondary can help the former fourth-round draft pick bounce-back.
“I talk often with Ike Taylor about Cortez’s situation because he’s lived it over the course of a dozen years or so,” said Tomlin. “He’s been that guy who has been pulled out of games and maybe demoted and pulled out of portions of games, and so forth, and has had bad tape out there and responded positively. I think Ike’s presence and experience in that regard is going to be helpful with Cortez, but ultimately Cortez has got to do it.”
Taylor, as many of you well remember, was benched by former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher back in 2006. Taylor ultimately regained his starting spot later that season.
Allen must work to regain his confidence right now and Tomlin was asked Tuesday if that process can only happen by him continuing to play in games.
“Real confidence is gained by performing in stadiums but you set the stage for that by how you prepare,” said Tomlin. “And I’m not talking about his situation specifically, I’m talking about any situation when the play is not up to snuff. I think that you prepare with an edge, you work to prepare for success, but ultimately true success, comfort in that area, is earned inside gameday stadiums as it should be.”
Tomlin was later asked to talk specifically about Allen’s struggles on the field and whether or not they are a result of him being out of position or primarily him just using bad technique.
“I’ll talk about it in these terms, he has finish opportunities that he’s not getting done and often times he is in position, because he does a great job of getting into position. But position is just an element of it. You’ve got to finish,” he said.
While Tomlin did say that Allen will have to compete in practice this week for the third cornerback spot, it certainly sounds like The Citadel product will be on the field Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens when the Steelers use their nickel package. If indeed that winds up being the case, Tomlin expects quarterback Joe Flacco to go after Allen.
“I would imagine that Baltimore’s going to work to attack him and he [Allen] better work to defend himself. Such is life in the NFL. Such is life at the cornerback position.”