November 6, 2011; Pittsburgh,PA, USA: Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith (82) catches the game winning touchdown with 8 seconds remaining over Pittsburgh Steelers defensive backs William Gay (22) and Ryan Clark (25) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Ravens won 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE
The ankle injury sustained by Cortez Allen against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday is going to keep him out of Pittsburgh’s upcoming game against Cincinnati according to the team’s official Twitter account.
The loss of Allen is huge for a number of reasons, but the fact that the Steelers must use William Gay in the place of their “number two” cornerback and top “tight end covering” threat when they face off against the Bengals could prove to be a disaster.
Allen however is not the only cornerback on Pittsburgh’s roster who might miss the next game. Backup Curtis Brown is dealing with an “illness” right now, and he was listed by the team as “doubtful” for Monday’s matchup in Cincinnati.
Although the Steelers are set to use rookie safety Shamarko Thomas as the nickelback in Allen’s absence, the loss of Brown will force Pittsburgh’s coaching staff to scramble if they need more than three cornerbacks on the field if Cincinnati employs formations with four and five wide receivers.
While backup free safety Robert Golden can chip in, special teamer Antwon Blake is the only other healthy cornerback on Pittsburgh’s roster at the moment. Golden’s experience as a cornerback at the University of Arizona will likely make him the “emergency option” for defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to use on Monday, but I am sure that Pittsburgh’s defensive coordinator does not want to go down that route.
Neutralizing and containing A.J. Green will be enough of a chore for Ike Taylor and the rest of the Steelers’ defense in Week 2. The fact that Pittsburgh must also rely on the rookie Thomas, Gay, and their linebackers to neutralize Cincinnati’s secondary receivers and talented tight ends will only make things more difficult.
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