TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Much-traveled Victorian competing for Steelers' CB spot

Steelers/NFL Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, 10:20 p.m.
 

The Steelers stiffened the competition at cornerback, in part, because they found themselves in the unenviable position of lacking depth at the position because of injuries last season.

The starters, Ike Taylor and Keenan Lewis, were slowed or sidelined late in the final weeks of 2012. And backups Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown limped down the stretch with a series of nagging aches and pains.

As a result, undrafted free agent Josh Victorian was thrust into the starting lineup against Dallas before a crowd of nearly 96,000 at Cowboys Stadium in December. Predictably, Victorian turned in an uneven performance.

Victorian, who spent time on the practice squad of AFC North rival Baltimore and New England before signing with the Steelers last September, had his moments in shutting down receiver Dez Bryant. He helped hold Bryant to four catches for 59 yards. But three times his aggressive, in-your-face style of play drew penalties and the ire of an angry Bryant, who pulled in a 24-yard touchdown pass.

“You never want to get beat. I rather give up the 15-yard penalty than having them striking up the scoreboard,” Victorian said. “I learned that from the older guys. You don't want to hold, but sometimes it's like, ‘Why not? ' ”

The Louisiana Tech product has managed to agitate the Steelers' receiver corps during training camp at St. Vincent College. For the most part, he's enhanced his reputation by challenging — and sometimes daring — big-play threat Antonio Brown to beat him.

“Any chance I get to go against 84 (Brown), it's like, ‘OK, here we go,' ” Victorian said. “You try to go against him as much as you can so you can get better every day.

“He is a tough guy to cover. He wins some and I win some, so I'm confident I cover any receiver.”

On Saturday, Victorian and Brown were back at it during seven-on-seven drills.

The receivers like what they've seen of Victorian, particularly in man coverage and his willingness to defend the run.

“Usually, those aggressive guys want to compete,” veteran receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. “No matter what happens, (Victorian) comes ready to play.

“Everybody knows he wants to go against AB (Brown). It's just fun to watch him compete even when he was on the practice squad last year.”

Victorian will have to work as hard during the preseason as he did a year ago before the Steelers activated him when Taylor went down with a season-ending ankle injury in Week 13. There's a long list of challengers for a roster spot, including Isaiah Green, Ryan Steed and former Pitt cornerback Buddy Jackson.

Again, injuries during the first week of camp explain why 10 cornerbacks are on the roster:

• Allen, who had three starts last season, had knee surgery earlier this week.

• Curtis Brown limped off the practice field Friday with a heavily wrapped hamstring and was limited in practice Saturday.

• DeMarcus Van Dyke has been sideline with a hamstring injury.

• Terry Hawthorne, a fifth-round pick from Illinois, injured his knee in OTAs and could miss most of training camp.

“I want to compete against the best, so when you get a shot you have to make it count,” Victorian said.

Ralph N. Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rpaulk@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RalphPaulk_Trib.

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers cornerback Josh Victorian with coverage on Antonio Brown druing practice Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers cornerback Josh Victorian with coverage on Antonio Brown druing practice Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers cornerback Josh Victorian with coverage on Antonio Brown during practice Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers cornerback Josh Victorian with coverage on Antonio Brown during practice Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers cornerback Josh Victorian knocks receiver Jerricho Cotchery out of bounds short of the end zone Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers cornerback Josh Victorian knocks receiver Jerricho Cotchery out of bounds short of the end zone Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Steelers' Josh Victorian defends a pass intended for David Gilreath during practice Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Steelers' Josh Victorian defends a pass intended for David Gilreath during practice Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders makes a catch over Josh Victorian during practice Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders makes a catch over Josh Victorian during practice Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers cornerback Josh Victorian practices Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers cornerback Josh Victorian practices Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Steelers

  1. Steelers notebook: LB Dupree sits out backs-on–backers drill
  2. Inside the Steelers: Williams’ quickness out of backfield evident in drills
  3. Tight ends’ role in Steelers passing game continues to lessen but players remain selfless
  4. Steelers unfazed by Patriots quarterback Brady suspension saga
  5. Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
  6. Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
  7. Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense
  8. Inside the Steelers: Ventrone suffers right ankle injury
  9. Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue
  10. Steelers notebook: Rookie CB Golson still dealing with left shoulder pain
  11. Rossi: St. Vincent a football sanctuary during Steelers training camp