Justin K. Aller
As if the ramifications of Sunday's loss against the San Diego Chargers weren't enough for the Steelers to deal with, the team now may have an even bigger problem to deal with.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin took the stand in his weekly Tuesday press conference to discuss the myriad of issues revolving around the football team. Before it was over, he dropped an injury report on the media that landed like an anvil on a wiley coyote.
As things stand right now, Allen is listed as day-to-day, and Tomlin said he would be limited in practice as the team evaluated his condition. If Allen is unable to participate, week 15 against Dallas would be the first game Allen has missed all year.
Ike Taylor, who is still recovering from a hairline fracture of the ankle, has already been ruled out despite the optimism surrounding reports that he has stopped wearing the protective boot he has worn since injuring the ankle in week 13 against the Baltimore Ravens.
The most agonizing part of Allen's injury is his possible replacement, should he be unable to play. Allen would be replaced by Curtis Brown, who was targeted and beaten often by Philip Rivers and company. Brown was targeted 6 times, surrendering catches on all 6; with 5 moving the chains on third downs.
While statistically Allen's day was not that much better, Brown failed the eye test horribly. On a day when the entire Steelers organization became associated with unpreparedness and lack of focus; Brown acted as the poster child. A strong case can be made that the Steelers young corners were physically outmatched by the Chargers receivers, but they were mentally outmatched as well.
Brown was quoted to having drank too much of the wine after an emotional win in Baltimore, after respectably filling in for Taylor when he departed the game. He admitted to a personal lack of focus during preparation, which his performance against San Diego exhibited indubitably.
If Allen is unable to perform against the Cowboys, the Steelers will find themselves relying on Brown to not repeat his error from the previous week. Brown has a tremendous opportunity to redeem his poor showing. Only time will tell if he put his newly learned lesson into practice.
Even if Allen is able to play, Brown must have a much more solid performance; or he could find himself replaced by fellow cornerbacks Josh Victorian and DeMarcus Van Dyke. If Brown is unable to preserve his spot on the field, he may find himself demoted like other players who failed to meet the standard, a la Rashard Mendenhall.
The Steelers will be holding their collective breath in hopes that Allen will be able to play, preventing Brown from being asked to carry a load he has been unprepared to handle. We will keep you updated on Allen's situation through the wekk.