It might only be a handful of practices into his Pittsburgh Steelers career but newly signed cornerback Steven Nelson feels like he made the right choice. Speaking to reporters after OTAs, Nelson gave his early impressions of the players around him.
“Guys have high energy,” Nelson told the media via the team site. “Guys want to be great, they want to win. Like I said, it’s contagious.”
It’s certainly a secondary with much to prove. Mike Hilton is looking to rebound after a tough, injury-plagued season. Sean Davis made the switch to free safety with mixed success and Terrell Edmunds is looking to take the leap heading into his sophomore year.
Of course, the elephant in the room is the lack of turnovers the unit created. Eight interceptions as a defense, just six from the secondary. Only four of those came from Steelers’ corners, matching the total Nelson recorded with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018. He knows that was one reason why the team was eager to sign him.
“I think that’s one of the reason why they brought me in because I did have a few interceptions. But they’ve been preaching that to not only me but to the whole group this whole offseason. Turnovers are big.”
Nelson said he’s yet to record a pick but based on some beat reports, Joe Haden and Edmunds came away with interceptions in seven shots during the week. It’s a nice sign but one that should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, this is a defense that registered 20 interceptions last training camp then proceeded to drop more picks than any other team during the regular season.
Takeaways and bigger picture, turnover differential, is one of the crucial numbers the Steelers must change if they want to make it back to the playoffs. Over their last seven games, they finished -10 in that category, 31st in the NFL only ahead of the San Francisco 49ers. It led to their second half collapse and ultimately missing the playoffs.