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.