Steelers Don’t Plan On Shadowing Browns WR Josh Gordon With One Player On Sunday

When Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen returned to the starting lineup several weeks ago, the coaching staff decided to stop having fellow starter Ike Taylor switch sides during games in an attempt to follow the oppositions top receiving threat around the field. On Thursday, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau revealed the reason why that decision was made.

“We just wanted to settle the defense down,” LeBeau said. “We didn’t think that we were playing anywhere near our capability and we thought that might help settle us down, and I think to some extent it has, so we’ve stayed with that formula.”

On Sunday, the Steelers will again face Cleveland Browns second-year wide receiver Josh Gordon, who has 80 receptions for 1,564 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. Back in Week 12, Gordon torched the Steelers defense to the tune of 14 catches for 237 yards and a touchdown with nine of those catches coming against Taylor.

This time around, the Steelers will make sure to know where Gordon lines up on each and every play, but LeBeau indicated on Thursday that he won’t be shadowed by one player specifically.

“We don’t know where they’re going to send him,” said LeBeau of Gordon. “But we’re going to try to identify him once he gets there.”

It’s hard to know exactly how the Steelers will try to defend Gordon this time around, but one would think that either Taylor or Allen would receive a little more help over the top in this game from a safety. While they aren’t likely to shut him down completely, they must limit his amount of explosive plays of 20 yards or more. Gordon leads the league with 28 explosive play receptions and eight of those resulted in touchdowns.

“We’ll try to locate the guy that’s hot, which is obviously No. 12 (Gordon), and make sure we know where he is,” said LeBeau. “A lot of people have tried to do that, but he’s leading the league in yardage.”

  • dgh57

    Good, as all I know is that what was used last time didn’t work! Maybe Allen will fair better. Somehow I don’t see #12 having nowhere near a repeat performance as last time.

  • steeltown

    What some people might not be thinking about is if TE Cameron is out with the concussion it will greatly help the secondary in covering Gordon.. Cameron is quietly #2 on the Cleveland roster in all WR statistical categories including TDs, he’s having a great year. He didn’t do much in the last game against us but the threat is there.

  • srdan

    It seemed like we played a lot of zone last time we faced him and a lot of his yardage was YAC from the drag routes. I think he could do it again if the game plays out the same way with the steelers getting out ahead early. The steelers are willing to give this up in hopes of minimizing deep plays. The issue is this dude turns a screen into a deep play.

  • srdan

    This guy is a beast.

    One could make the argument that our division has teh best receivers in teh league.

  • srdan

    Makes drafting secondary players that much more important.

  • dgh57

    While I agree he’s a beast more times than not when a receiver gets 237 yards it’s because you have a blown coverage or a missed tackle or two. It is in that regard I don’t see him having a repeat performance.

    I agree, as I would like a stud CB somewhere at the top of the draft along with a Safety later on in the draft or through FA.

  • srdan

    Very true.

    Hate to say it but the browns are scary. They have a stacked roster, if they get a good QB they could be really dangerous.

    Of course 4 or 5 years after drafting that QB, they would have to give him franchise QB money and they would lose a lot of the talent around him. Ala the Bungles.

  • Ahmad

    I interpreted that as Ike doesn’t have what it takes to shadow a number 1 anymore. I could be wrong but that’s how it came off to me.