Steelers Nation Votes: Should Cortez Allen Sit vs Ravens?


Oct 20, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Houston Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) is defended by Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen (28) on a 23-yard reception in the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers probably have their biggest game of the season on Sunday night.  No one is surprised that it against their most hated rival Baltimore Ravens.  If the Steelers can pull out a convincing win against the Ravens, it opens up the AFC North race and opens up the possibility to officially announce that the Steelers have finally turned things around – even be considered true playoff contenders.

The Steelers will need to bring their “A-game” on Sunday night, but there’s one player who considerably hampers those efforts – cornerback Cortez Allen.  The young man out of Citadel recently signed a heft extension during the offseason after a rather impressive second year in the secondary for the Steelers.  I don’t think I’m shading this any other color by saying he’s been playing like outright crap from the first snap of the regular season.

Allen ranks dead last of the 100+ NFL players in the secondary.  If you believe in the Pro Football Focus numbers, he is universes behind even the next to last worst guy.  He’s been targeted more than any other corner in the league.  All one has to do is watch a few defensive series to see that once an opposing offense tests Allen and sees that his struggle continues, they essentially bully him right off the field.  Allen did not start against the Colts and eventually sat out the rest of the game against the Colts after being targeted five times and giving up some significant plays.  Antwon Blake filled in for Allen and played very well against a surging Colts offense late in the second half – he even had a key interception that have many wondering if Allen would have been able to make the same kind of play.  Doubtful at best.

Allen received votes of confidence from teammates and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau this week:

"Well, having been an old corner myself, a corner learns to live alone, and he’s got to believe in himself, just go out there and play, work on everything he’s doing.  You got to believe in yourself to play corner, and I think Cortez does.  I have a lot of confidence in him. He just got to produce and get out there and make some plays."

I didn’t realize that being a corner in the NFL is like being a hermit.  Despite having the support of his teammates (even being mentored by Ike Taylor during this ‘rough spot’) and still being listed as the starting left corner on the Steelers depth chart, should the Steelers continue to allow Allen on the field for as much as they did against the Colts?  Should he even step on the field?

If it were up to me, and yes I realize it’s not, I would start Blake over Allen.  What has that defense have to lose if they do?  Allen is already the worst corner out there.  You can’t hit more bottom than that.  Put Blake out there and see how he can line up against either of the Smith’s.  If he struggles, yank him and swap out one poor pass coverage for another.  Blake has the hot hand with solid play from Sunday and a well played interception on top of that (not the kind of interception where a receiver falls and you are wide open for the grab like Allen).

What do you think, Steeler Nation? Would you sit Allen this Sunday and only play him if Blake would struggle or even McCain?