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Cortez Allen’s Transition To Starter Not Going Smoothly


By Matthew Marczi

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen is scheduled to miss his second consecutive game after playing just the first half of the season opener. He injured his ankle during the waning minutes of the first half against the Tennessee Titans and was unable to return in the second half after testing it out at halftime.

Allen’s transition from situational player to starter has not been a smooth one so far, certainly not to the Steelers’ liking. He is unfortunately building a reputation based upon his injury history since he has been in the league despite missing just three games in his first two seasons including the playoffs.

As a rookie, Allen missed the majority of his first training camp due to a pulled hamstring. He missed the first three preseason games, but was able to make enough of an impact in the final preseason game to justify his roster spot heading into the regular season.

During that season, he suffered an ankle injury that caused him to miss one game, and then a shoulder injury that he endured during the regular season finale left him watching his team lose to Tim Tebow in the playoffs.

As a second-year player, Allen was in competition with Keenan Lewis to usurp the departed William Gay as the starting left outside cornerback, but was held off despite Lewis battling injuries of his own.

Allen, of course, suffered a hip flexor injury last season that caused him to miss a game in which he was expected to start in place of the injured Ike Taylor. As a result, Curtis Brown and Josh Victorian were beaten for touchdowns in a painful loss to the San Diego Chargers that helped keep the team out of the playoffs.

Once again, Allen battled yet another injury during training camp, this time a knee issue that resulted in a minor procedure that kept him on the sidelines much of the time, exacerbating the issues of an already-depleted secondary during the early portions of camp.

Now he is sidelined for a second consecutive week with an ankle injury, and there are really no clear indications at the moment as to whether or not the team expects him to be able to practice next week, meaning he could be out until after the Bye.

Were it not for the fact that he has been able to perform well when he gets playing time, Allen’s injury history in his young career would be more concerning. Given the amount of practice that he has missed over the years, and the fact that he went to a military college, it is surprising how effective he has been.

But are these repeated injuries having an impact on his growth and development as a player as he works his way up the depth chart year by year? And should there be concerns over not just his durability, but his ability to play at less than 100 percent? Perhaps it is too early to answer those questions, but he still has a thing or two to learn from Ike when it comes to staying on the field.

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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Callentown

    Honestly, the draft is the only shining light for this team. SO many bad decisions these last 3 years.

  • Weiss Chad

    Nobody can stay on the field.I think there was alot of good decisions and some bad ones as well.Overall I still have just as much faith in them as I have ever.This o line is ruining this whole team.Its very unfortunate that with all these young kids on the line the best one of them is probably foster and that kills me to say that.Thank god Heath is coming back

  • Ahmad

    Yeah it’s not going smoothly but he will be fine IMO. He will most likely be back after the bye.

  • dgh57

    O where, O where are you Keenan Lewis is what I may be singing by season end!

  • Josh Knepshield

    Keenan Lewis is in New Orleans getting beaten like a drum. He is proving he is a zone system corner and can’t cover anyone man to man. He has not been playing well this year so far and in the preseason

  • HopalongCassidy

    The Steelers needed to keep Keenan Lewis. They could have shed Polamalu and his big contract to make room for Lewis’ salary. Good cornerbacks are more important than often-injured safeties. Allen has proven to be injury-prone and has yet to prove himself like Lewis did last year. Bad move on the Steelers part but they have made a lot of bad moves lately.

  • Eric

    I keep on going back to this years draft. Terry Hawthorne was a bust and Landry Jones was a wasted pick.

  • Michael Pearce

    Keenan was a shutdown corner for us and our best CB last year. He was our biggest loss in the offseason and will be missed for years to come. We should have kept Keenan and let Cortez go. As it is, we let a sure thing go for a question mark who has turned out to be injury prone. I guess we just got to get used to Gay at CB, just what we never wanted and Ike maybe gone next year too, along with those two old safeties.

  • Riverstko

    Allen was never starter type. We have been passing on good cornerbacks in the draft soon or later we will have to use a first round pick to get a Good cornerback or Good wr instead of being cheap drafting non skill position players like we do ex. DL LB OL

  • OIF3gunner

    Those two old safeties!? Are you serious? We have some of the best safeties in the game…

  • Christopher Wilkes

    It’s not like we’re losing games because of the CB situation.

  • willy steel

    Nah, man, i think you’re wrong there. He stared off slow in the preseason, but to his credit, he’s been lockdown since the season started. Against the Cards, dude had 2 tackles, 2 PD’s and an INT. His tackle numbers are a little low, but he does have a FF as well. I think he’s only allowed 6 catches total in 3 games. Saints now are ranked no. 5 in PD and Total D. He and Greer look really good right now. The past 2 yrs he was in the lineup, the Steelers have been no. 1 in PD.

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