Part 3: Physicality
If there’s one thing that all Steelers corners have to have, it would be physicality. You just can’t play corner for the Steelers, and be a soft guy. One of the most unseen reasons why their defense is consistently in the top of the league is because their corners can TACKLE! I watch some corners that just can’t stand to go hit someone. It just makes you appreciate the physical corners the Steelers have. When you watch Cortez Allen play, the first thing that comes to mind is, “Wow, that guy is a physical corner.” If you are a fan of the physical side of football, then Cortez Allen is the guy for you to watch. Smaller receivers struggle to get past him when he presses them, even a lot of big receivers struggle as well. If there’s one play that would define “Cortez Allen” it would be the play below:
I decided to show the end zone view on this play because I felt you could better see the tackle that Cortez Allen makes. Here, Brady looks to fire a ball to Gronkowski who is off the screen to the left.
Here, after catching the ball, Allen looks to push Gronkowski out-of-bounds, while Gronkowski looks to turn up field and run.
Allen knows that if he went for the legs, Gronkowski would just shove him to the ground. He decides to use Gronkowski’s size against him by using his own body weight as well as his strength to pull him out-of-bounds. Gronkowski is looking to carry Allen up the field to the red X, but Allen has other plans.
Now, Allen becomes air-borne, forcing Gronkowski to fall out-of-bounds with him, keeping him feet away from the first down marker.
Allen is successful, as he keeps Gronkowski from shoving him out-of-the-way for the first down. In turn, the Patriots are forced to punt after this 3rd-down play. When you watch this play full speed, Gronkowski looks like he has an easy first down until he just flips backwards. It was a completely clean hit, just a 6-1 guy taking down a 6-6 guy.
Gronkowski can often intimidate most corners and safeties just with his size. The Steelers knew Cortez Allen would still be physical and he wouldn’t step down to the overly big Gronkowski. When Cortez had to fill in for Taylor in the Baltimore game this past season, both Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith tried to out physical Cortez Allen, but with no success. The funniest thing was Flacco kept trying to target Cortez over and over again, and after getting him once for a touchdown, he never got him again.