Pittsburgh Steelers’ Secondary Coach Grady Brown talked with Missi Matthews about entering his second year on the job, and he praised the defensive back room for making his first year on the job easier.
“That’s one of the things that I can honestly say was a blessing for me as a first-year NFL coach, that we had a great room,” Brown said. “We talk about Joe [Haden], but I mean, you take guys like Minkah, they’re great people. Cam Sutton, great person. Terrell Edmunds, great person. We have great people in our DB room and all of them have been a pleasure to work with.”
Brown also mentioned how much cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon has blossomed, and also mentioned Justin Pierre and Justin Layne as guys whose personalities have positively impacted the room.
Brown came to the Steelers after coaching a season at Houston, and the adjustment to the NFL can be just as big for a coach as it is to a rookie entering the NFL for the first time. Brown had a great group of leaders, and while Joe Haden will surely be missed (assuming Pittsburgh doesn’t bring him back), there are more than enough guys capable to make up for his leadership. Edmunds is entering his fifth season in the NFL while Sutton will be entering year six, which makes them inherently familiar with how business is conducted in Pittsburgh. Couple that with Minkah Fitzpatrick’s leadership abilities and guys like Witherspoon and Pierre getting more experience, and Pittsburgh will be just fine when it comes to players who can positively impact their teammates.
While Pittsburgh’s secondary had a somewhat up-and-down first season under Brown’s tutelage, there were a lot of positive takeaways. Seventh-round pick Tre Norwood looks like he can be a solid player in the league, and he had some flashes as a rookie, while Witherspoon really blossomed toward the end of the season and finished his first year in Pittsburgh with three interceptions. Pittsburgh liked what they saw enough to bring him back after he initially tested the free agent waters, and they replaced Haden with Levi Wallace from Buffalo. Pittsburgh also signed former Falcons and Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee to play safety and help spell Edmunds and Fitzpatrick, if needed. Pittsburgh didn’t address the secondary in the draft, but they did sign UDFA corner Chris Steele, who could fight for a spot on the 53-man roster to add some depth to the cornerback room.
Under Brown, look for the Steelers’ secondary to improve on their 2021 season and help return Pittsburgh to one of the top defensive units in the league.