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Cortez Allen must prepare to 'defend himself' against Ravens

Steelers' cornerback Cortez Allen has been targeted early and often by every opponent the team has faced in 2014. That trend will likely continue against the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday.

Justin K. Aller

The Pittsburgh Steelers' secondary has been an issue in 2014, and that's hardly breaking news for the Steelers' fan base. Among the many issues plaguing the secondary is Cortez Allen's lackluster play.

Allen has by far been the weak link of a secondary that now has William Gay on the outside and Brice McCain opposite him. Allen only sees the field when the defense is in sub-packages, yet he continues to get beat and targeted whenever he's on the playing field.

During Mike Tomlin's weekly press conference Tuesday he talked about Allen's poor play and said the fourth-year cornerback is "putting bad stuff on tape." That may be putting it mildly.

He would go on to talk about how opponents are targeting Allen as a favorable matchup almost specifically in their game planning, something Tomlin thinks the Baltimore Ravens will also do Sunday night.

"I would imagine Baltimore is going to work to attack him, and he better work to defend himself."

Strong words from a head coach who benched Allen in the waning minutes of the win against the Indianapolis Colts, only to see backup cornerback Antwon Blake intercept Andrew Luck in the end zone to seal the victory for the Steelers.

Fans are searching for answers, and the answer to the secondary issues might be resolved when Ike Taylor returns to the lineup from a broken arm suffered in the Week 3 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Taylor's return will give the Steelers the ability to remove Allen from the lineup and utilize Gay, McCain and Taylor as their primary three cornerbacks on the roster.

Until Taylor's return, which still looks to be weeks away, the Steelers will have to find a way to help Allen 'defend himself' to the point of not being an obvious liability in the Steelers' secondary.