Keenan Lewis Holding Off Cortez Allen For Starting Corner Spot

One thing that stuck out to me while charting the Pittsburgh Steelers first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles is that Keenan Lewis is still holding off Cortez Allen for the starting cornerback spot opposite Ike Taylor. In fact, Allen saw just a handful of his snaps outside in place of Taylor once he exited the game. The rest of his snaps came at the nickel spot in the Steelers sub-package.

When Lewis finally exited the game, it was Walter McFadden that took his spot with Allen only coming in to play nickel as Curtis Brown manned the other outside spot.

Lewis has done a great job fighting off not only the hard charging Allen thus far, but also a shoulder injury. After suffering that injury it was thought that he would miss at least a few practices, and quite possibly the first preseason game, but he was right back out there the next day. That has to speak volumes to a coaching staff.

There are still three preseason games to go and this battle is far from over, but until Allen starts getting snaps in the base defense with the starters opposite Taylor in preseason games, the job will remain Lewis\’.

As far as Allen goes, it has been clear now for a couple of weeks that he will be the nickel back to start the season, even if he should wind up taking the spot away from Lewis over the course of the next several weeks. Should that happen, Allen would shift inside when the defense goes into nickel and Lewis would come into game as the outside corner spot just as he did last year when William Gay held the starting spot opposite Taylor.

As far as Brown goes, he continues to only get looks outside and still has some development to do, which was exposed in the form of the two big plays he allowed for touchdowns against the Eagles. Those types of things are going to happen and you have to keep in mind that Brown saw zero playing time last season on defense as a rookie.

The battle for the fifth cornerback spot on the roster appears to be between seventh round pick Terrence Frederick and McFadden, who was signed to a futures contract early in the offseason. The edge likely goes to Frederick right now as he saw most of his snaps Thursday night in the nickel spot, while McFadden only played outside as I mentioned above.

Over the next couple of preseason games these battles will be easy to follow by just looking at our defensive participation charts while rewatching the game.

  • Brendon Glad

    Keenan Lewis has improved A LOT. I would have cut him after he looked horriblê and broke glass a pre-season ago. They obviously saw something. As a Royals and Wizards fan, the only time fans get really frustrated is when the fan spends 1 hour a day thinking about the team, and finds that their call beats the management’s call consistently on players. I can proudly say that NEVER happens with the Steelers. LEWIS showed me in action last year that he was capable…I also proudly say that I called Hines Ward nothing better than a good number 3 slot-guy and special teams ace, and that Troy P. “Didn’t have the hips to be a good safety.” And that’s why I LOVE the Steelers! SO DANG SOUND in every move they make!!!!!!

  • Brendon Glad

    Anyone worried that the Steelers are going to give Chad Johnson a workout if the number 5 receiver doesn’t step up or MW doesn’t come in right away? I’M NOT!!! Raiders, Bengals, Browns, Chargers, Jets, Titans, Seahawks, Rams, Cowboys, Redskins, ….etc…u get the point…fans ARE…. cuz every locker room needs a jack-ass… or not.

  • Jesse Murray


  • Jesse Murray

    On 1st TD Curtis Brown wasnt at fault, it was cover 3 and safety DCS blew his coverage by exiting his area of responsibility to track receiver on other side of the field. On 2nd TD Brown had great coverage, the throw was perfect it happens. I believe you are being way to harsh on Brown and especially on 1st TD.

  • Plenty of folks saw Keenan’s talent from the start. Remember this guy started 48 games in the PAC 10 with lots of success. Its just that corner is a special position that doesn’t lend itself easily to the fans desire for instant gratification. Some, if they are getting the snaps early, may show flashes, but it still takes about 3 or 4 years for a corner to really become dangerous. The savvy and intution that comes with experience. As valuable (if not more) than the physical prowess. Keenan is right on schedule. He has matured both on and off the field. His work ethic is stellar both in and offseason (he was ready to go in OTAs). He’s has the toughness to play through injury. I think when all is said and done, the 3rd round of the ’09 draft will be a legendary moment in Steeler history. Lewis and Wallace, wow.

  • SteelersDepot

    Brown admitted himself he fell down and I also talked to a defensive player myself who asked to remain nameless that said it was indeed on Brown. Also where am I being hard on him? I think he has a great future ahead of him. Merely pinning a TD on him that he admitted was on him is not being harsh.