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Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – CB Cortez Allen


End-of-season player exit meetings are not something that we are often privy to as outsiders of the football world. Generally, we only get a glimpse into that world when a player is asked by a reporter how the meeting went, if the player is willing to discuss it.

Still, it’s not generally a hard concept to grasp, and we have a pretty good feel by now of how Mike Tomlin and his staff likes to operate, and we see all the game film, so it’s not an overly difficult project to simulate. If we were to administer the end-of-season player exit meetings, it might go something like this.

Player: Cortez Allen

Position: Cornerback

Experience: 3 Years

The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted cornerback Cortez Allen out of The Citadel in the fourth round of the 2011 draft believing that he was a project, but a project worth taking on due to his raw abilities and lack of exposure to the game.

That project was accelerated, as he uncharacteristically saw 60 snaps on defense during his rookie season as the dime back, the bulk of them coming in the middle of the season from Week Seven to Week Nine.

By far his most extensive playing time came in Week Eight against the New England Patriots. A year after watching tight end Rob Gronkowski torch William Gay in a breakout rookie campaign, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau matched up his tall young corner against the All-Pro tight end.

In his 19 snaps, Allen limited Gronkowski to just 44 yards on four receptions and, more importantly, kept him out of the end zone a year after scoring three times on a Steelers defense that would eventually make it to the Super Bowl.

That performance was great encouragement for the Steelers, who allowed Gay to walk in free agency in order to allow Allen to inherit the nickel back role. He had a great season overall in 2012, and gained his first starting experience, starting three of the last four games for the injured Ike Taylor.

That encouragement in part led the front office to the decision that they could stand to lose Keenan Lewis in free agency, who finally emerged as a complete starter in his fourth season. Allen was expected to fill his shoes in 2013, but as he would find out, those were pretty big shoes to fill.

It didn’t start off well, as Allen missed most of training camp after requiring a minor operation on his knee. Just to pile on, he twisted his ankle toward the end of the first half in the season opener, missing the next two games.

When he returned against the Minnesota Vikings, he was burned for two touchdowns by Greg Jennings—one a long one as a result of a poor missed tackle, the other over his shoulder in the end zone when the veteran receiver got him turned around. Fortunately, it was his worst game of the season by some margin.

Allen spent most of the rest of the season as the nickel back while Gay—returning after one season away—filled in admirably as a starter once again. This allowed Allen to regain his composure and his confidence, as well as his health, in a less demanding role, though he continued to receive significant playing time.

By season’s end, he was back in the starting lineup, playing all but five total snaps over the course of the last three games, which were all victories. While he gave up a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers, he also scored one of his own with his first career pick six on his second interception of the season. He also deflected five passes over the course of those last three games.

Allen’s first full-time foray into the world of NFL starting cornerback got off to a rocky start, and there were many bumps along the way, but there was certainly plenty to build on heading into next season.

Previous Articles In This Series
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – QB Ben Roethlisberger
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – WR Antonio Brown
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – WR Emmanuel Sanders
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – TE Heath Miller
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – T Marcus Gilbert
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – G David DeCastro
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – G Ramon Foster
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – T Kelvin Beachum
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – RB Le’Veon Bell
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – C Fernando Velasco
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – FB Will Johnson
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – DE Brett Keisel
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – NT Steve McLendon
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – DE Cameron Heyward
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – OLB LaMarr Woodley
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – OLB Jason Worilds
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – ILB Lawrence Timmons
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – ILB Vince Williams
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – CB Ike Taylor
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – CB William Gay
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – S Troy Polamalu
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – S Ryan Clark
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – WR Jerricho Cotchery
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – RB Jonathan Dwyer
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – QB Bruce Gradkowski
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – C/G Cody Wallace
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – TE Matt Spaeth
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – G/T Guy Whimper
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – RB Felix Jones

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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.
  • 804Stiller

    I know hindsight is 20/20 but with Allen and Lewis as our corners, we could be in good shape at corner. We basically chose Ike over Lewis and I understood at the time but, man, we could have really had Lewis for a reasonable price. Like Worilds, he just didn’t play or show enough early to see what we had.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Allen is better than usual Steeler corner, and that is saying a lot! He tackles, which is paramount for the Steelers, and defends well. As a bonus he will make some plays for you occasionally causing turnovers. Just once in while is good enough. I would take 3 guys like that any day for the Steelers CB.

  • John Hinton

    While I appreciate all that Ike has done for the Steelers, I was in favor of parting ways with him last year to keep Keenan and have him paired with Cortez for the next several years. Oh well, time to find Allen’s equal (or better) for the other side of the field.

  • Callentown

    Yeah, it’s been said many times, and already by 804Stiller here, but letting Keenan go was bad. Lewis could have been the #1 with Allen the #2 and we would be STRONG there.

    Instead, we still don’t know if Allen can cover the best WR week in and week out, while Lewis did just that this past year. Here’s hoping..

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    The question is WHY didn’t he show enough early?

    It is my opinion that Tomlin let personal dislikes interfere with Keenan’s professional development. He did not give him the opportunity to learn on the field. And did not spend time one on one improving his technique.

    The minute Carnell Lake shows up and starts working with Keenan, he becomes a legit starting CB. As a head coach you have to think team first as well.

  • joed32

    Losing his temper and committing dumb penalties got him pulled out of a game and it was Lebeau who pulled him. Maybe Lake was able to get him to straighten out, something did.

  • Greg Nixon

    Keena Lewis showed PLENT

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I think this kid will be great as long as he stays healthy…it was tough for him against the Viks in his first game back plus the stress of playing in London.

  • Jazz

    A clear case of poor judgement by the Coaching Staff. They mentored and coached a guy for three years (Keenan Lewis) and allowed him to leave and they kept Ike Taylor. Dumb Move by the F/O. As I’ve stated before, Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert has done a terrible job in evaluating talent. No way in the world should they have allowed Lewis to leave, they never offered the guy a contract. The decision never should have been between Lewis or Allen, it should have been between Ike or Keenan Lewis. The correct choice clearly should have been Lewis, they should have cut Ike Taylor last year. Once again, a decision to keep an aging veteran over an up and becoming star. Poor Dumb A$$ decision by all that made it.

  • WIINGY

    Keenan’s first year cap hit was under $3 million. They could of made it work. They didn’t even try. He signed for peanuts.

  • WIINGY

    agree 1000%

    They didn’t even attempt to sign him.

  • Greg Nixon

    I badly wanted the Steelers to sign K-Lew – the 5 yr $26.3 MM signing with the Saints was a bargain. The problem was the Steelers committed 4 years to Ike in 2011, not knowing his skills would drop-off in 2013. The Steelers painted themselves in a corner with Ike, and they couldn’t cut Ike last offseason because of the dead money hit. Hindsight is 20/20, but the time frame has to be considered in any discussion here. The Steelers were forced to choose between K-Lew and Cortez (decision was really made for them because K-Lew’s C1 came up earlier) because of a decision made in 2011. I don’t like it any more than any Steeler fan, but it became a cold, hard reality.

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