The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, now into the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.
There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the regular season. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.
Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.
There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.
Question: Will Levi Wallace end up ahead of Ahkello Witherspoon on the depth chart?
The Steelers had no intentions of re-signing Joe Haden this offseason, but they did bring back another cornerback, Ahkello Witherspoon, a veteran whom they acquired via trade just before the start of the 2021 regular season.
While he lingered on the bench for most of the year, injuries and performance issues opened up an opportunity for him to get on the field in the second half of the season, and he made the most of it, earning a starting job this year.
The Steelers, however, also added Levi Wallace as an outside free agent, and he has been playing a supplementary role for most of the year, mixing with Arthur Maulet as the third cornerback for the year, perhaps in part due to the time that he missed in training camp, as he and Witherspoon were in a purported battle for the starting job.
Witherspoon is nursing a hamstring injury at the moment and did not practice, raising questions about his status for the next game. Aside from his health, there is also the fact that he has not played particularly well through the first three games.
At least theoretically, that could leave the door open for Wallace to steal away the starting job, if he gets the call against the Jets and plays well. It’s not as though the Steelers have a deep history with Witherspoon. And the two of them received identical contracts.
Pittsburgh is on a two-game losing streak and a game behind in the AFC North already. Of course it’s still early in the season, but they have to be open to making changes that improve their chances of winning. Witherspoon does some good things, but if Wallace offers more consistent play, and he proves that against the Jets, then the change should be made.