2017 South Side Questions: Game Edition – Will Cameron Sutton Play On Defense?

The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: Game Edition – Will Cameron Sutton play on defense?

Earlier in the week, there was a report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that, with the return of Joe Haden, rookie cornerback Cameron Sutton was given some work with the first-team defense on the other side of the field, in Artie Burns’ spot. The reporter in question even intimated that this indicates the team is mulling a benching for Burns.

As you will read in a later article prior to the game, this is not what I expect to happen, but it has to be considered a possibility. That would not be the only way for Sutton to get on the field, however. The Steelers have been open to a rotation at cornerback before—as recently as two games ago—and he could rotate. On either side.

Let’s recall that Haden is just coming back from a fractured fibula. It’s entirely possible that the Steelers may not want him to have to play a full game right away, working him back in slowly. So Sutton could still take some snaps on the left side, and perhaps even on the right as well.

Again, I will have an article on this later in the day, but what does seem unlikely is finding him in a nickel or dime role, because he confirmed that he has not taken any snaps on the inside, but rather has received practice time only on the outside.

If Sutton isn’t taking over a starting job, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him worked on the inside. But he also needs to be ready to play on either side on the boundary, because it seems clear that he is now the top backup there.

There are certainly those who would like to see Burns take a seat, at least for a game, and those who would even like to see Sutton get another chance at a start. Whether or not they get their wish, Sutton may still see some defensive playing time anyway.

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