The Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the league’s best defenses, but that doesn’t mean they are without holes on their roster.
Some say no NFL roster is truly complete, but the teams who can have the least amount of weaknesses at any positions are the ones who typically make the playoffs and have a lengthy run in January.
For the Steelers’ defense, the hole on their unit is at the cornerback position. You might be thinking, “Which cornerback position?” To that, the answer is, “All but one.”
Joe Haden is the lock down corner on one side, but every other cornerback position is anything but solidified. After Antoine Brooks Jr.’s surprising release Tuesday, the team now has to figure out if Arthur Maulet is the player to fill the nickel/slot cornerback role. If you gauge what happens at practice as a way to know what the team is thinking, you know nothing is settled.
There have been rumors of the Steelers trying an approach to the nickel cornerback position in a different way in 2021. If the opposition is going “heavy” someone like Marcus Allen could potentially fill that void. This was once thought to be Brooks Jr. before his release. If the opposition is deploying a “light” offensive set, they would have someone like Maulet on the field who has better coverage skills.
There is no perfect mix, but the Steelers are still throwing whatever they have against the wall, in hopes of something sticking.
The latest player to try their hand at the slot position is rookie Tre Norwood. During Mike Tomlin’s press conference Wednesday he said Norwood would get some reps at the position.
Benny Snell is expected to be back and Tre Norwood will get to play some nickel per Coach Tomlin.— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) August 25, 2021
For those who don’t know, one of the factors which attracted Norwood to the Steelers was his ability to play almost every position in the defensive backfield. He is currently considered the top backup at free safety, but has experience playing cornerback while at Oklahoma.
While there are no definitive answers currently for the Steelers cornerback saga, there might be some remedies to explore. Many have suggested Norwood could fill Cam Sutton’s old role as the dime backer, while others believe Sutton could slide to the slot and James Pierre play outside when they go into their sub packages.
There are more scenarios to sift through, but it is a glaring issue the Steelers must face sooner, rather than later. Will the sign another cornerback to fill the role? Will they go with what they have? As the team prepares for the 2021 Preseason finale vs. the Carolina Panthers, nothing is decided at this point.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.