While it’s still a little bit too early to write the Pittsburgh Steelers depth chart in pen as we sit here in May, we are already starting to get a glimpse as to how a few things might shake out in the secondary now that cornerback Ike Taylor has retired and Cortez Allen is back healthy.
After the Steelers first OTA practice of 2015, Allen talked about where he played in the base and nickel defenses respectively.
“First (team). Left (cornerback) and then when we go nickel Antwan (Blake) comes in and I go (to) right (cornerback) because he’s more comfortable that way,” said Allen, who was limited to just 11 games last season due to poor play and injuries.
Having Allen on the right side in the nickel is something that we didn’t see a lot of last year. In fact, according to our charting from last season, Allen only played one snap on the right side. He did, however, log more playing time than that on the right side during the 2013 season.
In addition to talking about where he lined up Tuesday, Allen also addressed questions about whether or not he’ll be able to bounce back this year.
“It’s always a new start, new year, new start, new opportunity to just work and get better,” Allen said, according to Mike Prisuta of steelers.com. “That’s my focus, to be a better me. I think everybody in the system is important. I know they count on me a lot to be a guy that makes plays and produces for them and I expect myself to produce.
“You’ve got to understand there’s going to be ebb and flow and you’re going to go through adversity and understand that it’s a process. The way you deal with those situations good and bad is what molds us and what enables us to be the person we are today. I’m thankful for the tests I get, the challenges I get good and bad because it all teaches you something.”
More than anything else right now is the fact that Allen appears to be fully recovered from the thumb and knee injuries that plagued him most of last season. The Citadel product signed a five-year, $26 million contract just prior to the start of last season and the Steelers certainly need him to rebound from a disastrous 2014.