Steelers notebook: Safety Will Allen re-signed
A day after the Steelers brought back linebacker Stevenson Sylvester, they added safety Will Allen, one of their best special teams players from 2010-12.
Allen began the season as a Cowboys starter, but was cut following the 51-48 loss to Denver on Sunday.
“It was weird, it was a shootout,” Allen said Thursday. “As a defense, you can't give up 51 points, 500 total yards, and expect to win. It's one of those games that you learn from it.”
Allen, a fourth-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2004, has played in 135 career NFL games, making 35 starts. He was signed by Dallas to be a starter, but went to the bench after starting the first two games of the season. With Dallas, Allen had nine tackles, three passes defended and one interception.
To make room for Allen on their 53-man roster, the Steelers waived safety DaMon Cromartie-Smith as injured. He has a hip flexor injury.
• Cornerback William Gay probably will start Sunday against the Jets ahead of Cortez Allen, who has had injury problems since training camp — first a knee problem, now a sore ankle. “Cortez still has that ankle a little bit,” defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. “I don't know that it totally affected him physically, but maybe his timing a little bit. We all have to go through those things when we are coming back.”
• Offensive coordinator Todd Haley didn't say whether new addition Levi Brown or Kelvin Beachum would start at left tackle. But while Brown and Haley didn't have a close relationship when the two were together at Arizona, Haley said Brown has a Steelers-like temperament. “He's a demeanor-type player that you like,” Haley said. “(He's) not somebody that you're always real comfortable going up to and asking a lot of questions.”
• LeBeau's explanation for why defensive end Cam Heyward moved ahead of Ziggy Hood to start: “He wasn't getting enough snaps. One way to take care of that is to put him out there and let him go, but Ziggy Hood still will play a lot.”
• While rookie quarterback Geno Smith doesn't seem very similar to the less-mobile Mark Sanchez, cornerback Ike Taylor said the Jets haven't dramatically altered their offense to accommodate Smith. “It's not really too much different — they're still running the same plays,” Taylor said “Geno is mobile enough to scramble any time he wants to, but he doesn't want to scramble. So I call him a pocket quarterback who, if he needs to scramble, he will.”
• The Steelers played in three AFC Championship Games from 2005-2010, the Jets were in two straight in 2009-10. But since the Steelers beat the Jets, 24-19, in January 2011 to advance to the Super Bowl, the two teams are a combined 37-36. The Jets are 17-20, the Steelers are 20-16.
• Ben Roethlisberger is 4-2 against the Jets. With 196 touchdown passes, he is four away from joining Terry Bradshaw (212) as the only Steelers quarterbacks to throw for at least 200. Roethlisberger is averaging 394.5 yards passing in his past two games, the best such stretch of his career.
• Under LeBeau, the Steelers are 15-2 against rookie quarterbacks, who have combined to throw nine touchdown passes and 19 interceptions. Next up is Jets QB Smith, who had 11 turnovers in his first three games. Might Smith be exactly what LeBeau's defense needs to start turning the ball over? “They've changed their offense up a little bit to help him out, but they give you a lot of different formations, a lot of different looks,” defensive end Brett Keisel said. “Hopefully, we can get in a situation where we can confuse him a little bit.” Smith had no turnovers Monday in the upset win at Atlanta, throwing three TD passes.
• Receiver Antonio Brown, sixth in the NFL with a 103 yards per game average, is likely to be shadowed by Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie. But Brown is proving to be a matchup problem for nearly every defense. “Yeah, but it's too early to feel good or pat myself on the back,” said Brown, who has 32 catches. “I've always known since I've been here what I was capable of, but it's not really about me. It's about the team delivering wins and, right now, we haven't won. The day I can play good and we can win, maybe that's the day I can crack a smile.”
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