Filling holes on the roster is nerve-racking. Limited draft capital and cap space make it impossible for franchises to cross players off their wish lists. In a perfect world, teams could identify their needs and shop for the best player to fill the role. Somehow, this happened for the Steelers. They improved their weaknesses with hard work in the off-season. They acquired Patrick Peterson - who could be the best corner the Steelers had in years.
Steelers improve roster after struggling on defense last season
Defensive is the identity of the Steelers. They force turnovers, play physically and remain consistent for four quarters of football. That wasn't the case last season. Quarterback development put Terryl Austin's unit in tight positions. Their drives were short - forcing the defense to recover quickly.
Pittsburgh fought hard despite the challenges set before them. They remained optimistic when T.J. Watt experienced his pectoral injury in the season opener - sidelining him for the majority of the season. The Steelers continued to battle, but it was clear something was off. Offensive droughts hurt the team, and the defense paid the price.
A 9-8 record was the result of a roller coaster season. Pittsburgh ranked in
26th in points scored (308) and 10th in points allowed (346). Their secondary struggled against opposing quarterbacks. They torched Austin's defensive backs. The Steelers ranked 20th in coverage rating (68.3) and knew they had to find a solution for the following season.
Steelers assemble the best cornerback duo they've had in years
Excuses don't exist in the land of black and gold. If there's a need, there's a solution on its way. On March 16, the Steelers signed Patrick Peterson to a two-year deal. He is an expert in zone coverages and should complement well with Pittsburgh's blitz-heavy scheme. Peterson is ranked 12th in PFF's cornerback ratings. He recorded five interceptions - including two in Week 10 against the Bills.
Relying on a 13-year veteran to perform like Sauce Gardner is unrealistic. Terryl Austin is aware of Peterson's age despite his performance last season. The Steelers will expect the former Viking to earn his keep. He'll play in defense with X-Factors on each level. All he has to do is his job.
Mike Tomlin's squad will be prepared for their new campaign. They've gained key role players that will make an immediate impact. Patrick Peterson will play an intricate role on his new squad. He'll groom Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice while helping Pittsburgh clinch a divisional title.