Allen could fill void at nickel back for Steelers
With William Gay signing with Arizona in the offseason, the Steelers are searching for a nickel back and apparently will give second-year man Cortez Allen the first opportunity to win the job.
Allen said following the second day of organized team activities Wednesday that he's excited about the opportunity of possibly replacing Gay.
“It is a great position to play,” Allen said. “It's fun. It's different. It helps me as far as the grand scheme of the concept of the defense.”
Allen, the Steelers' fourth-round pick last year out of Citadel, never played nickel in college but knew the concepts of the position in case of an emergency.
“I was always the matchup corner, so I never got a chance to play in college,” Allen said.
The nickel position is important in defensive coordinator's Dick LeBeau's defense. It requires the defensive back to thoroughly know the ins and outs of the defense.
“You are not just worried about what you are doing,” Allen said. “You have to know when you are blitzing, what the linebacker is doing, and things like that. It is a lot different, but I am excited about it.”
Veteran offensive lineman Trai Essex has been the first-team left tackle during the first two days of OTAs. However, that may not be the case when rookie Mike Adams shows up for minicamp in a couple weeks.
And if Adams is immediately inserted into the top spot at left tackle, Essex would understand.
“I am not going to take it personal if he jumps ahead of me on the depth chart when he gets here,” Essex said. “They are going to give him an opportunity to come in and see what he can do. Just because he hasn't been here, they want to see what they invested a second-round pick in. As a veteran, I understand that.”
Essex played one game at left tackle last year in Houston. The time before that was the wild-card game in 2007 against Jacksonville.
The Steelers told Essex that they want him to concentrate on left tackle and battle Adams and Jonathan Scott for the starting spot.
“He is a rookie and he will get some slack, but not much, because there aren't any redshirts in the NFL,” Essex said. “Guys are expected to come in and contribute right away.”
Ike Taylor missed Tuesday's practice because he said he “had to take care of some personal business” but returned yesterday. Taylor said that he might not attend all 10 OTAs scheduled for the next three weeks.
Keisel back soon
Brett Keisel was absent from practice for the second straight day, but he is expected to return next week. Also not taking part yesterday were Jason Worilds (undisclosed) and Ramon Foster (hamstring) with rookies David DeCastro, Alameda Ta'amu and Adams not permitted to attend OTAs until school is finished.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.