Better yet, could Cortez Allen be better than Ike Taylor? That’s a question that wasn’t posed, but was actually suggested by Ike Taylor himself during his weekly radio spot on Trib Live Radio.
During his segment, Taylor spoke highly of Allen, as the two are training together during this offseason. Taylor said that Allen is mature and has the drive to continually improve himself. He also had this to say,
‘This dude could be way better than me – if he can stay healthy.’
Say what you want about Face Me Ike and the stiff arm against him that put the Broncos into the next round of the playoffs last season. But, the guy is really good. He deserved the contract that he signed last season and lived up to the hype of getting paid that kind of money. He’s a great shut down corner, and Allen is wise to learn from such a strong minded veteran. Speaking of mentality – that’s one thing Taylor pointed out that Allen will need to break through if he wants to be one of the greats.
‘Yeah, everybody’s got the physical attributes. Yeah, there’s a lot of guys that can catch better than me, but upstairs – mentally – that’s what separates the good guys consistently and the great guys. Mentally can they do it for 16 weeks?’
All too true. It doesn’t take an MIT genius to play corner, but it does take someone with mental fortitude to play up against some of the great receivers in the game. There may be a bunch of plays where that player’s number isn’t called, but on the one play it is, you have to be mentally tough to stay focused and continue to have excellent coverage on your guy. Taylor is like that for the most part. Will Allen surpass his mighty professor?
Allen is the front runner in challenging Keenan Lewis for the #2 corner spot on the team. The running back situation along with the Mike Wallace ‘thing’ might be big news for fans during camp in a few weeks. But don’t forget about the emerging young’ins in the secondary who will be looking to capture spots on the roster after William Will Willie But Just Don’t Call Me Bill Gay’s departure. Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown are in their second year, and Keenan Lewis will be entering his 4th. That’s a fairly young trio considering Lewis has only started one game.
Be sure to watch these gentlemen if you are at camp this summer. And keep an eye out for all the tweets from the media and reports as the team works out and players begin to seize opportunities. I loved that the Steelers were able to draft Allen in the fourth round of last years draft. The saying goes that most players need a couple of seasons to fully learn and apply Dick LeBeau’s defense. Allen was a fast learner while he played numerous snaps in the nickel and dime roles. As was Curtis Brown. Both of these players have a shot of surpassing Lewis. My money is on Allen. He’s the faster guy with better hands. He’s mature, as noted by Taylor on his show, and just might give Taylor even a run for his money…. soon.
Follow me on Twitter @NicePickCowherC