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Minor Injuries Giving Young Cornerbacks Extra Reps During Pittsburgh Steelers’ Training Camp

July 30th, 2013 at 11:04 PM
By Mark Mihalko

It is an incredible time in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Pirates are in first place in their division and appear to have finally turned the corner as a franchise. Incredibly, their performance during 2013 has taken some of the typical coverage away from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yes fans, the Steelers are continuing training camp and have some interesting stories are developing. Some were expected with running back Le’Veon Bell taking a large portion of reps in the backfield. While this may not indicate the opening day starter, Bell will be playing  a larger role on the offense it the team does in fact want to run the ball more.

'Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp 2010' photo (c) 2010, RJ Schmidt - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
Another storyline is the ongoing battle between veteran Jason Worilds and rookie Jarvis Jones. After just a few days, it is clear that drafting a pure outside linebacker familiar with a 3-4 scheme is paying immediate dividends in comparison to their normal defensive end transitional prospect. Jones does not seem overwhelmed in coverage or in space, and has shown some pass rush skills.

One story that could also pay dividends down the line is the extra reps some of the young cornerbacks are getting early in camp. With starter Cortez Allen battling some knee discomfort and corners DeMarcus Van Dyke (hamstring) and Terry Hawthorne slowed by injury, there are more turns in the rotation.

These injuries could be huge for Van Dyke and Hawthorne, both of whom must show up at camp and make an impact if they are to make the team.  Those two are battling speedster Isaiah Green, veteran Curtis Brown, incumbent Josh Victorian and undrafted rookie Nigel Malone, a college All-American from Kansas State University.

For Van Dyke, the coaching staff and front office have seen his elite speed during the 2012 regular season and know what he can bring to the table. However, that is not the same for Hawthorne, who was drafted out of Illinois in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

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Tags: Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Football, Isaiah Green, Jarvis Jones, Jason Worilds, Josh Victorian, NFL, Nigel Malone, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Terry Hawthorne

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