With the Pittsburgh Steelers coming off their bye week and little to talk about in the interim outside of returning players, now would be as good a time as any to take a look back on what’s transpired this season and give out some mid-year player evaluations.
The team as a whole has suffered its ups and downs throughout the season, particularly the bi-polar offense that prefers the comforts of home. Even with all the road struggles, however, the Steelers are ranked seventh in the league in scoring, averaging 26.2 points per game.
On the flip side, the defense has struggled not only with youth and inexperience but also with injuries, en route to posting the 19th-best defense in points allowed, giving up 23.9 points per game, with hopes to start changing that down the home stretch.
Player: Cortez Allen, CB
This year was supposed to be the year that cornerback Cortez Allen was going to emerge as the future at the position. Actually, scratch that. That was supposed to be last year, but he was given a one-year pardon due to extenuating circumstances.
Allen dealt with a knee issue during the preseason last year, and then turned his ankle before halftime in the season opener that caused him to miss the next two games. He came back and played an awful game in London, and before long, he was demoted back to sub-package corner play, where he started his career.
He had plenty of ups and downs, but he finished the year with a couple of solid games back in the starting lineup, and everything was supposed to be golden again, but it hasn’t exactly worked out that way.
Allen has been about as bad as any starting cornerback in the league, and that led to him being demoted to sub-package work again after the first six games of the season. After another two games, and another two rough performances, he was supplanted again, and reduced to special teams play.
The Steelers have six cornerbacks on the roster, and he’s now essentially fifth on the depth chart. It doesn’t seem likely that he’ll see the field again this season barring injury, especially with the team getting a starter back healthy for today’s game.
Allen himself is dealing with a thumb injury and has already been ruled out for the game, which is not encouraging for his future on the defense in 2014. Not that it seems the team would stand to benefit much from that.
From the missed tackles to the blown coverages to the abundances of penalties, the fifth-year cornerback has been a significant disappointment this year in a way that raises concerns about the team’s future at the position. Yet it’s hard to imagine him not being a part of that future, given the new contract that he was given the day before the season started.