Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Secondary Concerns

Irrespective of the looming matchup with Julio Jones, Roddy Smith and Matt Ryan, the Steelers' secondary has issues that must be addressed. The problems are such, however, that no quick fix will provide a solution before Sunday's game in Atlanta.

Going over the top.
The safeties have not produced takeaways this season, and opposing offenses have become emboldened to attack deep. Over the past four games, the back end of the defense has surrendered touchdown passes of 67, 80, 69 and 81 yards.

With Julio Jones coming off a game in which he caught 11 passes for 259 yards, what do you think Atlanta is going to do? ... especially after they saw Cincinnati's A.J. Green amass 224 yards against the Steelers last Sunday?

Safety Mike Mitchell pointed the finger at himself for being out of position on Green's 81-yard jaunt past a struggling Ike Taylor. While Mitchell's mea culpa and sense of accountability are admirable in this instance, his struggles this year have not been fun to watch. Mitchell has been out of position and/or late to plays all season. And Ike Taylor may be well less than 100 percent this Sunday, if he even plays (although he is projected to be available).

Still, the Steelers currently have just three reasonably healthy cornerbacks who have seen playing time this season: William Gay, Brice McCain and Antwon Blake. Considering the extent to which the defense usually has a nickel (slot) corner on the field, that means no depth behind those three.

Is it possible we could have a B.W. Webb sighting? Uhhhh, as we said, there is no quick fix in sight.

Footnote/Addendum: Long ago and far away, William Wilson Webb, Jr., aka B.W. Webb, averaged 18.2 yards per punt return as a senior in high school and had three returns for touchdowns.

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