The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will Brian Allen be worked at safety during training camp and the preseason?
The Steelers have, potentially, more cornerbacks than they need. Even if they decide to keep six, they can carry six players with NFL experience or draft pedigree without retaining third-year Brian Allen, who has not logged time on defense during his first two NFL seasons after being selected in the fifth round in 2017.
Of course that would mean carrying Artie Burns as well, most likely.
But Allen already knows that he’s on shaky ground when you consider the fact that he did not make the initial 53-man roster in 2018. He spent a few weeks on the practice squad before he was called up due to injury. So he has to make strides.
And one way he can boost his worth is to offer position flexibility. Now, he’s not going to play linebacker and he’s not really geared toward playing on the inside at his size, so the logical possibility is safety, which is something that has been talked about for him in the past.
Earlier this offseason, after the draft, Head Coach Mike Tomlin did name Cameron Sutton and Mike Hilton as cornerback candidates who could potentially be used at safety in a pinch. He didn’t mention Allen, which is not necessarily a good sign for him, but it’s not necessarily bad, either.
There is a good possibility that this summer is the last chance for Allen to stick, or at least the last good one. If he fails to make meaningful progress this year, it’s going to be hard for anybody to believe that he is going to turn some corner a year from now, and that includes other teams who might look to give him a chance based simply on his physical traits.