There’s not a lot that Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson hasn’t done or been able to do since he was brought on board as an unrestricted free agent back in March. He has done everything asked and expected of him since he arrived. Well, everything aside from one, major thing.
Take the ball away.
A year after posting four interceptions in his final, fourth season with the Kansas City Chiefs, the fifth-year veteran starting cornerback hasn’t been able to pick off a pass this season, and quite frankly, I can’t recall an instance in which he had a clear shot at picking the ball off, even though he has his share of passes defensed.
“The turnovers will come”, Nelson told Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review yesterday following practice. “They haven’t come yet like I’ve wanted them to come. Hopefully, they’ll come soon down the stretch”.
After all, his teammate, Joe Haden, only had one interception on the season prior to the previous 62 minutes of play, during which course of time he intercepted three. He now is tied for the third-most interceptions in the league, a demonstration of the reality that they can come in a flurry.
One of the reasons the Steelers were interested in Nelson is precisely because of the fact that he demonstrated the ability in the year prior to take the ball away. The defense only had 15 takeaways in 2018, their major shortcoming.
In spite of the fact that he has hardly contributed to that—while he doesn’t have any forced fumbles either, he does have a recovery—the defense hasn’t had much issue in the takeaway department in 2019. In fact, they lead the league with 33, with three more games to add to the total. At this rate, they should finish with around 40 takeaways.
“You go out each game and have high expectations”, the veteran cornerback told Rutter. “When you don’t get it, you’re like, ‘awww,’ but then you get to help the team win so you’re happier that you were a part of that”.
Of course Nelson would love to pick off a few passes and even bring one back for a score. He’s since Minkah Fitzpatrick house a couple of loose balls, and Devin Bush has one, as well. But as long as he’s doing his job, and the team is winning, it’s hard to complain.