2017 South Side Questions: What Role Will Cameron Sutton Play Sunday?

The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: What role will rookie cornerback Cameron Sutton serve during Sunday’s game against the Ravens?

Many were surprised on Sunday night when the Steelers opened the second half of their game with the Bengals lining up rookie cornerback Cameron Sutton at left outside cornerback. Having only been activated prior to the game before, it was the first snaps of the third-round pick’s career, in any capacity.

The reason that he was playing at all, of course, was because of the struggles of veteran journeyman Coty Sensabaugh, who was beaten for two touchdowns in the first half of the Bengals game, and a couple more touchdowns in the few games leading up to it.

And he was only playing because of the fibula injury suffered by starter Joe Haden, who remains out for I would guess at a minimum one more week, and quite possibly longer, meaning that there are still snaps yet to be fulfilled, and as I wrote about yesterday, I don’t see a compelling reason for Sensabaugh to be the one taking those snaps.

But he would not necessarily have to start to contribute. Given the injuries at inside linebacker, we could see an increase in usage of the dime defense, which could help him earn a couple of snaps. and there are multiple roles on special teams that he can play.

While he did say that he took some reps in practice as a punt returner, he also said that it had been no more than usual since he was brought back, so I would not exactly bank on him taking over that role from either Antonio Brown or Eli Rogers, unless, for example, Rogers muffs another kick.

He can be used as a gunner, however, or a jammer, or on kick coverage. There is an opening on the kick coverage unit in Tyler Matakevich’s absence. J.J. Wilcox did himself no favors in the last game with two special teams penalties. Just thinking aloud here, but there are logical places for him to play.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Big Joe

    Sensabaugh has experience and Sutton needs some so we may see a split for now given the importance of the game. We’ll see

  • Steve Johnson

    A split? I hope not, let the Rookie play, get his bumps and bruises now, let the kid learn the Defense on the field. Just like Wilcox, let him play, Golden isn’t the answer.

  • AndyR34

    Yeah! Wilcox is a great answer. Holds to wipe out a kickoff TD that we haven’t had in like forever then does it again so we start practically on the 5 yd. line. Great answer there.

  • AndyR34

    Difficult to even speculate…so many opportunities, so little data to go by.

  • Stairway7

    Sensabaugh has experience getting burnt-let Cameron play.

  • WreckIess

    Unless they want to let Gay get some PT outside, let Sutton start. Worst case scenario is he gets beat on, we put Sensabaugh in, and we’re back to square one.

  • Roblisberger

    I’d love to see a film breakdown of the good and bad of both Sensabaugh and Sutton in this last game

  • Rich Stafford

    The game is meaningless.. Win or lose everything is on the NE game. That is the very reason Sutton should start.

  • sbfalex76

    Great observation there. I was just thinking about the same. If we lose this game we will still be 2 games over the Ravens and even if NE wins their game next week, we can still gain the upper hand and inside route to the #1 seed by beating them the following week. That said, it’s always never good to lose to the Ravens, even if we end up winning the SB…

  • John Pennington

    With the games left to play now is the time to get the young draft picks some playing time in case they are needed to come in if someone goes down.These snaps will help them get ready for the playoff run when all hands on deck is needed.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    It’s just kind of baffling that the Steelers find themselves in this position once again. It LOOKED like there was finally some depth at CB. There isn’t.

    In fact, with just one injury, the team can’t currently field two competent starters. Frankly, even with Haden I don’t feel that’s the case.

  • David Shoff

    I think Sutton should play. He certainly didn’t hurt himself by his play in the Bengals game.

  • Right now, I think I’d take anybody over Coty Sensabaugh.

  • Chuck Anderson

    That’s easier to say knowing that Valentino (nee Antwan) Blake is in retirement…

  • Steve Johnson

    I was referencing playing Defense, not Special Teams.