We knew that it was only a matter of time before Levi Wallace was benched and Joey Porter Jr. was officially inserted into the starting lineup. It certainly took Mike Tomlin long enough to make the switch. Despite the downright atrocious play we witnessed from Wallace through the first six games of the year, the Pittsburgh Steelers still rolled with the veteran over the rookie.
Those days are gone (thank goodness). On Monday afternoon, Coach Tomlin revealed to the media that it's officially Joey Porter's time in Pittsburgh. The rookie has overtaken Wallace for the starting CB job, Nick Farabaugh reports.
I guess it's better late than never. While Porter has his flaws, it's so easy to see how much better he is already than Wallace. In Week 8 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Levi Wallace didn't even earn a helmet despite logging limited practice on Thursday and Friday before the game. And the Steelers should never look back.
Porter once again displayed sticky man coverage in Week 8. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed just 20 yards in this contest on four targets. Though it looked like Porter was responsible for the deep touchdown to Travis Etienne at first glance, this play was actually the result of a blown coverage by safety Damontae Kazee.
Porter earned a 73.3 overall grade in Week 8 to go with an 81.7 coverage grade, per PFF. His overall grade on the season is now 81.9 -- ranking him 6th among NFL cornerbacks. Pro Football Focus has credited him for allowing just 3 receptions on 14 targets for 32 yards, equating to a passer rating surrendered of just 9.8.
Porter and Wallace technically play different spots. Now that Porter has entered the starting lineup, he will be the team's left cornerback. As a result, the Steelers shuffled their lineup in the secondary against the Jaguars. Veteran Patrick Peterson kicked over to right cornerback, while Chandon Sullivan manned slot duties once more. Occasionally, James Pierre saw the field at RCB.
Sadly, the Steelers have shown that they do not have another competent option at the CB position outside of Porter. Peterson simply hasn't been cutting it, while Wallace and Sullivan have both been awful this year. They did sign rookie Darius Rush from the Chiefs' practice squad, but he has yet to play any defensive snaps for Pittsburgh.
The switch from Levi Wallace to Joey Porter Jr. was long overdue, but at least Mike Tomlin made the move eventually. Let's hope that this team can continue to take steps to get them back on track. This was a good start.