A fan's guide to defending the Pittsburgh Steelers' honor at mid-season

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The next time someone says...

"The Steelers' defensive secondary is terrible"

You should respond by acknowledging their past troubles but with the caveat of a rookie lock-down corner just starting to step out of his father's shadow.

That's right, Joey Porter, Jr., is going to be a problem for a lot of teams down the stretch. His long arms, press coverage, and ability to run with the other team's best wideout have already paid dividends, holding the Titans' DeAndre Hopkins to just one reception for 17 yards on five targets according to Next Gen Stats.

Porter was ranked fourth on PFF's list of the Top 15 highest-graded rookies after Week 8. "Porter has been erasing every receiver he has matched up with this season, and he's quickly putting together an impressive resume," according to PFF.

Thank goodness JPJ has emerged, because it was looking dicey for a while in the secondary. Former starting CB Levi Wallace -- outside of the Raiders game in which he had two interceptions and four passes defended -- has struggled this season. He's been picked on to the tune of a team-high 50 targets for a team-leading 406 yards allowed and four touchdowns.

For what it's worth, Wallace has been nursing an injury, and he played a lot better in a reserve role against the Titans. If he can hold up in that role, and the Steelers can get the injured Minkah Fitzpatrick back soon, the secondary could become a strength during the back half of the season.

It would have been nice if the Steelers could have added a veteran at the trade deadline to add to the unit though. However, they decided to pick up rookie Darius Rush instead, who saw some action against the Titans and did nothing to discourage more time in the future.

With two games against Cincinnati's Joe Burrow left on the docket, as well as another against both Baltimore's Lamar Jackson and Cleveland's Deshaun Watson, the defensive backfield will definitely be tested.

But from a non-division standpoint, the Steelers have already played signal-callers who cause defensive coordinators to lose the most sleep. The remaining non-division quarterbacks include the likes of Jordan Love, possibly Kyler Murray, Mac Jones, Gardner Minshew, and Geno Smith.

Not a terrible group, but also not widely considered the top quarterbacks in the league right now.