A popular saying these days when breaking up with someone is “it’s not you, it’s me.”
However, after the results of last night’s final preseason game, and the impending deadline for the final roster cuts of the year, it’s time for the Steelers to finally tell Keenan Lewis that it’s not us- it’s you.
For the past three years we’ve gone into the preseason hearing about how Lewis was the solution for all of Pittsburgh’s well-documented secondary woes, and for three years now Lewis has done nothing but demonstrate his ability to be simultaneously injury prone and ineffective.
Newly anointed GM Kevin Colbert and the rest of Steelers management will have several difficult decisions to make as they consider who will and won’t make the final 53-man roster, but I’m here to say that the decision to drop Lewis should be a clear one.
This isn’t to say that the team is brimming with talent in the secondary, and can so easily dispense with some dead weight. Far from it in fact, as it appears the starting corners will once again be the dynamic duo of Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden. But considering the pair were the starters on a Super Bowl winning team, I can hardly complain too much.
It would be easy to call for the dismissal of Steelers Nation’s favorite whipping boy, William Gay. Unfortunately, as much as it may pain me to say it, Gay is actually a bargain under his current contract, and has his uses as nickel corner, particularly in blitz packages. And once again, I’m obligated to mention that he too is a former world champion, so it seems he’s going to stick around.
Which brings us to the remaining stragglers, such as the aforementioned Lewis, rookies Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown and safeties Ryan Mundy and Will Allen.
Now, I’ve never been particularly enamored of Mundy, and given how well Will has played recently (he intercepted another pass last night) I’m inclined to call for Mundy’s head. However, given both Polamalu and Clark’s propensity for injury, I have a feeling they’ll both stay.
That leaves only the three corners left. In all likelihood, the team will only be able to keep two, so the decision becomes which one gets the ax.
Now Brown will probably get a pass considering both his decent play over the course of the preseason and the fact that he remains a rookie, so the real battle is between Cortez and Lewis for the final spot.
The cornerback Allen was only able to suit up for last night’s preseason game, and while he didn’t show the best natural ability, he was able to at least make five tackles and record two pass defenses. In contrast, Lewis only made two tackles and tipped one pass, all while crying about how much his knee hurt.
Only two of those last three facts may be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that Cortez Allen deserves a shot on this roster and Lewis needs to be kicked to the curb.
We’ve seen what he can do, and especially what he can’t, so it’s time to move on, stop believing he’ll turn into Nnamdi Asomugha and look toward the future.
Hopefully the Steelers will someday find a cornerback that I can watch without cringing, but until that day comes, the team needs to cut its losses. And that means cutting Lewis.
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