Coty Sensabaugh Kicks Off Starting Stint With Pick Of Former Team

It’s almost hard to remember amidst everything that happened last night that the Pittsburgh Steelers were actually without half of their starting secondary—or actually two fifths, I suppose, since it has come to a point that it is unreasonable to regard the nickel cornerback anything less than a starter.

Remember, free safety Mike Mitchell had to sit this game out with an Achilles injury, and you can wager that his absence likely helped to contribute to some of those explosive plays down the middle of the field. It’s easy to dismiss his presence until you actually see the effects of his not being there.

Also temporarily vacating his starting position due to injury was cornerback Joe Haden, a late free-agent addition who was replaced in the starting lineup by a much earlier addition during the initial period of free agency, Coty Sensabaugh.

I can’t help but find myself wondering how this game might have gone differently if the Steelers had some lesser-quality cornerback to fill in reserve, because, upon initial impressions, Sensabaugh held his own—outside of one major exception that helped lead to a huge 75-yard touchdown pass to open the second half.

The former Titan recorded three tackles during the game, two of them being stops. One stop led to a third and long, following which the Steelers got their first interception of the game. It was Sensabaugh who got the second, jumping a route around midfield and taking off running, getting all the way down to the 20-yard line.

He did so picking off Marcus Mariota, his former teammate, from the latter’s rookie season, anyway. Sensabaugh was a Titans draft pick and even worked his way into the starting lineup by the end of his tenure there.

He signed a big-money contract in free agency with the Rams but was demoted after a couple of games and then eventually released. He ended up signing with the Giants and worked his way into the rotation for them by the end of the season.

After joining the Steelers on a modest contract, he talked about having grown from the experiences of the previous year, going from signing a strong contract to start for a team to being a street free agent. It tempered him and made him mentally stronger.

Toward the end of the preseason, it looked like he would compete with Ross Cockrell, last year’s starter, for the job at left cornerback. That plan changed after the Browns released Haden and the Steelers signed him, of course. But Cockrell was traded for a seventh-round pick, and Sensabaugh was kept.

He is at least for the present now the starter until further notice after Haden suffered a fibular fracture that will keep him out for several weeks. While he helped to give up a huge play in the game, I will say that his debut in the role could have gone a lot worse.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • capehouse

    Helped? How is he not 100% responsible for giving up that TD?

  • Jones

    You referring to this:

    “Mike Mitchell had to sit this game out with an Achilles injury, and you can wager that his absence likely helped to contribute to some of those explosive plays down the middle”
    Are we blaming MM for things that happen when he’s not on the field? lol – it reads like you’re saying MM is 100% responsible for the TD.

  • zeke

    I would love to see Haden and Sensabaugh on the field together while Burns sits on the bench…

  • cencalsteeler

    Not sure Matt, but that TD given up looked just like the one given up last week when MM was in the game. MM cheated to T.Y. Hiltons side, then got burned from the other side. Though Golden wasn’t perfect, he was in position to grab an int., something we haven’t seen from MM in a while. Heck, even the short time Wilcox has played, he grabbed a pick, too. Not too sure I agree with the second paragraph of the article, but the rest of the article is spot on and I came away impressed with Cody’s play.

  • dany

    Yet two weeks ago people thought he was a candidate to get cut when Sutton came back

  • capehouse

    No last sentence of this article. “While he(City Sensabaugh) helped to give up a huge play in the game, I will say that his debut in the role could have gone a lot worse.”

  • Joey

    Cockrell would have given it up, too… AND NOT HAVE JUMPED THAT ROUTE TO GET A PICK.

  • Joey

    Now who goes? Allen, or McCullers? Potentially L.J.?

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Not sure, but heard someone speculate he was supposed to have help over the top.

  • capehouse

    Cockrell probably would have jumped that route, cause he was an ok cover 2 CB and he did that a couple times for us.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    If Haden hadn’t gotten injured, I would have liked to see Burns get a game off to watch from the sideline and get some help with his coverage breakdowns. Now with Haden out, it’s not rly the same situation.

  • StolenUpVotes

    It ain’t going to be Jones. He is firmly entrenched as the #2 QB. Dobbs ain’t taking that spot from him

  • AndyR34

    That’s what the Mitchell haters would say! LOL

  • AndyR34

    Most ‘people’ know nothing!

  • capehouse

    Not sure why Coty would flip his hips toward the sideline if he was expecting help over the top.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It wouldn’t have been a touchdown without a missed tackle by Robert Golden.

  • Dave D

    My choice is McCullers. However, for you McCullers fans, no worries, I do not have a vote. 🙂

  • capehouse

    Coty missed the tackle too after he was turned around for the second time on that play, and was solely responsible for the coverage on the WR. Embarrassing coverage.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Regardless, it’s not like I complimented him for the play.

  • Zombie Nixon

    Crack much?

  • John Pennington

    Cut big Dan he is not playing away but if Sutton can get on the field bench Burns maybe send a message to him that he needs to tackle better and help in the run game.He is playing like a rookie and will hurt the team in the long run.

  • capehouse

    Cockrell has about as many career INTs as Sensabaugh does. In the play in question the Steelers were playing cover 2, which is also Cockrell’s specialty. 2015 against the Ravens the Steelers ran a similar play to the one where Sensabaugh picked off the pass, yet it was Cockrell who jumped the route and made the INT. It’s a trap coverage. Kozora wrote an article about it titled, “Steelers Film Room: Ross Cockrell’s INT”. Look it up. Learn something instead of spouting off with your immature comments.

  • Joey

    no doubt Cockrell is a cover 2 CB…. And unfortunately because he has done it once does not mean he would do it again. Maybe making an absolute statement was not a smart idea, as I do not know if he would or would not have made that similar interception.

    I know Cockrell just made some infuriating plays, and Sensabaugh, on a short week, filled in decently.

  • Joey

    Iwas referring to Fort, not Jones… but my mistake for not making it more clear!

    Yeah Jones is here for at least the rest of this year.