Will Allen – The Steelers Safety Net

On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Steelers re-signed safety Will Allen to a one-year contract and while there’s no guarantee he makes the final 53 man roster out of training, for now, he can again serve as team safety net.

Being the Steelers safety net is a role that Allen should be used to playing now as the 31 year-old has been forced to do it the last two seasons. After starting safety Troy Polamalu went down with a calf injury early in the 2012 season, the Steelers first turned to Ryan Mundy to fill in for him. Mundy failed miserably at being the safety net and Allen was there to take over. He successfully held down the fort until Polamalu returned in Week 13.

Just last offseason, the Steelers tried to move on from their safety net and Allen signed with the Dallas Cowboys at the end of March. After starting the first two games of the season for the Cowboys, Allen was benched and ultimately released a few weeks later.

Allen wasn’t out of a job long, however, as the Steelers quickly signed him to help bolster their special teams units. They ultimately needed him as a safety net once again after then-rookie safety Shamarko Thomas went down with an ankle injury in the Week 10 game against the Buffalo Bills.

Even though starters Polamalu and Ryan Clark were healthy all season, Allen saw a lot of playing time over the remainder of the 2013 season in the Steelers quarters defense. He played well enough that Thomas never saw another snap once he returned to full health.

Now that Allen is back in the fold again, it doesn’t mean that the Steelers will ignore the safety position in the May draft. Should Thomas and the safety they wind up drafting need tutoring during the remainder of the offseason, Allen will be there to lend a hand.

While the general consensus seems to be that Thomas will take over for Clark this season, Allen quite possibly could be the player the Steelers turn to if the second-year player out of Syracuse struggles initially, as there’s a good chance he’ll be the safety net for one more season. Should Allen not make the final 53 man roster, there’s a good chance the safety net will only be a phone call away.

  • steeltown

    I fully suspect he’ll make the 53man, even if they draft Safety, in part because Thomas and Golden can seemingly play some CB and they are not afraid to carry extra DBs. I was actually somewhat upset after 2012 when they didn’t re-sign W.Allen. If anyone isn’t making the roster out of camp it will be Golden IMO

  • Shannon Stephenson

    It looks like you hit the nail on the head here. We hope Thomas takes the position but Allen can step in and hold it down till someone is ready to fill that spot.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Golden didnt grow much from year 1 to year 2…he surprised to make the roster his rookie year but this year he needs to step up.

  • steeltown

    He’s a special teams demon, but heading into his 3rd yr he needs to show some capability on Defense. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s a decent chance he makes the 53man roster, he really is a damn good special teamer.

  • James Kling

    All but seals the fact that Ryan Clark is history, IMO.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Good cheap move by the front office. Will is a more than competent S. I’m hoping Shark steps up his game but I also expect us to draft a safety in the early rounds also.

  • shawn

    I would be VERY surprised and Dissapointed if Will makes the roster … our problem the last couple years has been mediocrity and he is the very definition of the word … draft young DBs and or FAs and go with them …. lets move on!

  • steeltown

    Do you forget how well he filled in back in 2012 when Polamalu missed significant time..and last season when Shamarko was out. He’s plug and play, he’s experienced and he’s cheap

    Clark is most likely gone and Golden hasn’t shown anything on Defense, so he is a welcomed depth player IMO

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Shawn, you are mistaken. In 2012, Both Polamalu and Clark missed some time, and once Allen was in there, the D did not miss a beat. They were still pretty good back then. He is a great guy to have around, just in case, and as a situational player.

    In a perfect world, Shark will never come off the field again starting this year. But in the case of injury to anyone, Allen is there to help out at a low cost.

  • shawn

    I also didnt forget him getting burned and his poor play last year as well … I would like to go more by the motto “If you are not trying to improve … ”

    there is a reason he was benched and cut in Dallas … he sux … is he a serviceable back up .. yes/somewhat … but lets get younger and a new identity … he will not help us get better !

    I would have much rather had Shamarko getting valuable playing time last year when healthy than losing it to Will who has no future with our team

  • steeltown

    His future very well may be backing up both Polamalu and Thomas this season, serviceable backup indeed

  • Brendon Glad

    The guy makes plays. He reminds me of one of my old favorites from the early Cowher days…Chris Oldham. Never flashy…often “hanging onto an NFL job”…but making plays when called upon. Good re-signing. I just hope they don’t put “training camp/preseason” as their only barometer. Some people play better in real games than in “practice/preseason”.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    True but IMO in every NFL players career you start out on ST but you eventually graduate to a starter in your position. If after 3 years you cannot make that jump then you have to move on unless you are a GREAT ST player. I would not put Golden as a demon on ST but he is above the line as Tomlin would say

  • Shannon Stephenson

    That was 2012 in which I do agree but he was a mixed bag last year shawn is right that we must get younger and better.

  • shawn

    I remember 2012 very well … he did contribute and didnt do too bad at all … I’m referring to 2013 … he was on the wrong side of average like most of our DBs this past year … I do not see his play returning to 2012 but more like continuing the trend from last year … not to mention Gay as well … we have gotten a decent couple years from Gay, I do not think we can realistically expect him to keep that up … he’s a decent nickel or dime back or role player at best … A heavy draft of DBs along with a FA will clear up and fix our Secondary ASAP … we do not need to rely on back up or over the hill players (Will Allen, Ike & Gay) for success

  • shawn

    True … but much rather have our newly drafted Safety(s) (Plural) get some valuable playing time than Will !