Steelers News

Ahkello Witherspoon Accountable In Post-Game Comments: ‘Being In Good Position Don’t Mean A Thing If You Don’t Make The Play’

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon missed the past four games after suffering a hamstring injury in week three. The sixth-year veteran won a starting job in training camp but had his struggles through the first three weeks prior to going down with the injury.

Unfortunately, his return to the starting lineup earlier today didn’t go so well. In fact, he was benched before halftime after being repeatedly burned for touchdowns by the Philadelphia Eagles’ pairing of quarterback Jalen Hurts and wide receiver A.J. Brown.

Brown, who was acquired by the Eagles via trade earlier this offseason, scored three touchdowns in the first half, all coming within the first five minutes of the game. The first went for 39 yards, the second 27, and the third 29. And Witherspoon was in on all of them.

Not that he had poor positioning on all of them. Sometimes a great throw and a great catch beats good coverage. But that doesn’t excuse the issue, and Witherspoon knows it. He also knows that he needs to finish the plays when he’s in position, something he didn’t do earlier this year against the New England Patriots as well.

“Being in good position don’t mean a thing if you don’t make the play”, he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Chris Adamski after the game. And ain’t that the truth. It was the same conversation that we had back in Week 2 when he allowed the Patriots’ Nelson Agholor to go up and over him for a 44-yard touchdown with seconds to go in the first half.

https://twitter.com/C_AdamskiTrib/status/1586815692283813892

Head coach Mike Tomlin replaced Witherspoon with James Pierre by the end of the first half, and he confirmed after the game that it was purely due to performance issues, having nothing to do with the hamstring injury that sidelined him for a month.

Whether some of it is rust for missing a month or not, Witherspoon obviously knows that he needs to make plays on the ball. That’s what he did in the second half of last season when he was one of the hottest cornerbacks in football.

He’s been nothing like that through four games played in 2022. And the only reason to have any hope that he could have a similar second-half surge as he did a year ago would be because of the imminent return of T.J. Watt.

The Steelers are entering their bye, and they will have to decide who will start on the other side of it. Levi Wallace should be back by then. If Pierre’s foot injury isn’t too serious, perhaps even he will be considered. But right now it’s clear that they don’t have a stable nor reliable cornerback position.

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