For the moment, it appears as though second-year cornerback Cameron Sutton will be starting on the left side for the Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. It will be the second start of his career, both having come in place of Joe Haden due to injury.
The intention was to get Sutton some snaps on the field anyway in a dollar look, which is something the Steelers ran only once in the opener. It came on third and seven, and the Cleveland Browns ran it against them for a 13-yard gain. Highlighted below, he is away from the play, but the package was taken advantage of here.
He did not return to the defensive side of the ball until Haden exited the game in the fourth quarter. Tyrod Taylor tested him fairly early looking for a deep pass into the end zone for Rashard Higgins, but he was in good position all the way to defend it.
That was not the case the next time. with just over two minutes to play, Taylor went after Sutton on back-to-back plays and won both times. First it was on a deep ball back to Higgins. The cornerback seemed to trust that he got a jam on the receiver enough to discourage a throw and essentially stopped on the route, the receiver selling the action before running past him for a 38-yard gain.
That play put the Browns on the Steelers’ 17, and Taylor when right back after Sutton with Josh Gordon. Sutton admittedly played this fairly well, reading the receiver. He got his arm between Gordon’s, and had he reached back toward himself would have had a chance to dislodge the ball. The veteran receiver did a great job of jumping up and getting it, though, at one point even seemingly balancing the ball on Sutton’s helmet.
It would be too much to say that the defender would have the last laugh, since he gave up what ultimately proved to be the game-tying points, but with Cleveland driving at the end of regulation, he was able to come back with an interception in coverage against Gordon. Though it was an underthrown ball, he read the route like a receiver—though he didn’t quite catch it like one.
This week, he will have received full first-team reps in preparation for starting. The Steelers trust him out there, so it will be interesting to see how he looks for 60 minutes in his second season.