Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr. is playing like an emerging star at the cornerback position. Each week, we keep saying that Joey Porter Jr. can not stop everyone. The rookie is on a tear and eliminating top receivers consistently. Even when those players, like Tee Higgins, go off for over 100 yards, he gets shut down when Porter is in proximity. Higgins did most of his work away from Porter, who covered him on 32 of his 40 routes. He caught just one reception for 15 yards whenever he got targeted against Porter.
Porter’s length and grabbiness make him a frustrating player at times. He got called for his 12th penalty on Saturday, a holding call near the top of the league. But Porter’s length and aggressiveness are what makes him great. Honestly, you live with the penalties to bring out the dog in him that makes him fit for these types of matchups.
Former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a solution for this, though. Porter often wears gloves that stick out from his uniform. Against the Bengals, he wore stark gold gloves compared to his black jersey. With the Bengals wearing bright white jerseys, veterans like Patrick Peterson wore white gloves to give them advantages. That could be a veteran move that Porter learns in his career, and something he has to make as an adjustment.
He’s a physical football player. He gets his hands on people. And so I love that they just let him play,” Roethlisberger said on his podcast, Footbahlin. “He’s playing as well as any rookie, not just (a) corner, but rookie in this league. … He’s playing really well. (He) should get some definite consideration for Rookie of the Year…. But he should put the same-colored gloves on as the opposing jersey. He wore those bright yellow gloves, and it just sticks out like a sore thumb.”
Secondary coach Grady Brown has challenged him to get better from all of that. He needs to improve. But where it stands right now, Porter’s a young player looking to grow his game in the best manner. Using his best attributes and accommodating what he does is the best way.
In other words, Porter will learn how to get those penalties down throughout his career. But he has special length and skills you can not teach, and we are not even talking about a guy with the technical base to go with the wildly intriguing natural ability.