Steelers' young corners step up in Ike Taylor's absence
BY CHRIS ADAMSKI Associated Press
Saturday, December 15, 2012
12/15/12 at 5:35 AM
PITTSBURGH - As the veteran member of the Pittsburgh Steelers' otherwise-youthful cornerbacks, Ike Taylor enjoys being among the first- and second-year players at his position meetings.
"I feel like they keep me young," Taylor said. "Especially with the new young music coming up, the clothes, shoes, all that kind of stuff."
This week, it's much more than music or fashion trends that have Taylor appreciating players such as Josh Victorian, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Curtis Brown and Robert Golden.
With Taylor sidelined with a fractured right ankle and top reserve Cortez Allen likely out with a groin injury, the likes of Victorian and Van Dyke are thrust into prominent roles.
Picked up late in training camp, neither was even active for games as recently as two weeks ago. But as the Steelers (7-6) head into Dallas (7-6), they will be counting on the inexperienced cornerbacks to deal with the Cowboys' talented receivers.
"We tried to teach these young players like they are going to be starting because we know someday, they will be starting," Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said.
The results were mixed in this past Sunday's game, the first without Taylor for the Steelers since 2006. Allen made his first career start, and fellow second-year pro Brown also was bumped up the depth chart to play in nickel packages.
Repeatedly picking on Brown and Allen, Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes and was 12-for-18 when passing on third down with eight of those completions going to receivers that either Brown or Allen was covering.
The Steelers secondary will depend upon its young depth to help deal with Dallas' Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten, who all are on pace to have 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Between them, Victorian, Van Dyke, Brown and Golden have combined for four NFL starts.
"We will need every one of them, without a doubt," LeBeau said. "They will all be playing.
"Hopefully, we have some quality depth. It's a challenge for us."
Original Print Headline: Inexperienced corners must step up for Steelers
Up next: Steelers vs. Cowboys
At Dallas 3:25 p.m. Sunday
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Pittsburgh defensive back Josh Victorian tries to get the ball from San Diego wide receiver Danario Alexander after Alexander's touchdown catch during Sunday's game in Pittsburgh. DON WRIGHT/Associated Press