I jinxed them.
On Monday, I remarked how fortunate the Pittsburgh Steelers have been on the injury front as we approach their first full week of training camp. For my insolence, the Football Gods have decided to smite down several members of the Black and Gold’s new look secondary. The injury situation has gotten serious enough for the team to make a roster move, signing CB Ryan Steed for insurance. Steed was an undrafted rookie who went to training camp with the Jets last season before spending the remainder of the year on the Saints’ practice squad. He has never appeared in an NFL game.
Signing Steed became necessary because Cortez Allen, who is expected to start at CB opposite Ike Taylor, has been experiencing “knee discomfort” which prevented him from taking the field all week. Meanwhile, second year corner DeMarcus Van Dyke and rookie Terry Hawthorne have been missing practice due to various injuries. Last season, the secondary was absolutely decimated to the point guys fresh off the practice squad were being given significant playing time. With the departure of Keenan Lewis via free agency, the depth chart is already dangerously thin. If Allen’s “discomfort” turns out to be anything like the “discomfort” which kept James Harrison out the first month of the season last year, an already questionable secondary becomes downright frightening.
In the meantime, those practice squad guys who were literally thrown into the fire are at least getting some of the best coaching available. Not only is Steelers secondary coach Carnell Lake unquestionably the team’s best position coach but this year he’s brought along an old friend to help the youngster. Hall of Famer (man, does it feel good to type that) Rod Woodson has been working with Curtis Brown and Josh Victorian. If Woodson and Lake can’t coach them up, nobody can.