With the Pittsburgh Steelers having completed the first portion of their season, now would be as good a time as any to take a look back on what’s transpired this year and give out some midseason player evaluations.
The team has had a rocky but ultimately successful season to date, coming out of the first six games with a winning record despite being 1-2-1 just two weeks ago. Coming off of consecutive strong victories with improve play from both sides of the ball, things are looking up.
The offense has done its part for the most part, but has taken some long vacations. Their disappearing acts in the second half was perplexing, but that has improved. Defensively, the secondary is seemingly becoming a bit more stable after being nothing short of terrible previously, but there are absolutely some real concerns remaining.
Player: Coty Sensabaugh, CB
Even with some injuries to start the season, Coty Sensabaugh was a healthy scratch during the season opener. Two weeks after that, he was starting the game. While Artie Burns has ‘started’ over the past couple of weeks, Sensabaugh has still continued to play his fair share of snaps, if not even the lion’s share.
The Steelers have been employing a rotation at right outside cornerback for over a month now between Burns and Sensabaugh, something that says much more about the former than it does about the latter. Were it not due to performance issues with Burns, Sensabaugh wouldn’t be seeing the field in the first place.
But because he is, the veteran cornerback is getting to play, and frankly he has been the more trustworthy of the two, which will continue to earn him some playing time until Burns proves otherwise—if that ever happens.
The only reasonable alternative would be for Cameron Sutton to replace Sensabaugh in rotating with Burns, but the second-year cornerback has been working in the dime package for the past four games with Morgan Burnett sidelined due to injury.
A seventh-year player, the strength of a player such as Sensabaugh is going to be the fact that he is going to know his assignments. That doesn’t mean that he is going to execute it at a high level, but he is also not going to blow your coverage scheme.
He will be beaten on double moves, he will fail to make plays on the ball in the air, and generally will have his lapses in the physical carrying out of a play. He is not on Burns’ level athletically, either, but that is not why he is getting on the field.