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If Cortez Allen falls behind William Gay, it's not due to injury

Steelers defensive coordinator could be protecting his young cornerback, but giving William Gay the start over him against the Jets in Week 6 is not due to Allen's ankles.

Jamie McDonald

What Dick LeBeau says isn't to be believed.

Or at least take what he's saying with a grain of FieldTurf rubber.

The Steelers defensive coordinator had mentioned cornerback Cortez Allen "Cortez still has that ankle a little bit," as well as his statement that all three of his cornerbacks will play a lot against the New York Jets in Week 6.

It's not the injury that is likely costing him his starting position. It's the missed tackles. He missed at least two against the Vikings in Week 4, and allowed both of the Vikings' passing touchdowns in a 34-27 loss. Gay is a solid tackler, and against a Jets team that wants to establish the run, particularly with a beleaguered passing game that's without its best receiver, former Steeler Santonio Holmes, sound open-field tackling is a requirement.

For however badly Allen's ankle is feeling, he's not listed on their injury report, so any such move would be one directed to increase Gay's snaps, not protect Allen's iffy health.

Gay has played well to this point, and the Jets' versatile attack will require outstanding play from Allen, Gay and Ike Taylor, as well as the Steelers' safeties. The Vikings game could easily have been won if not for a few missed tackles.

If Gay's the guy, then ok, but Allen will still be on the field, and he'll need to make plays.

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