PITTSBURGH — If you ask veteran Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson about the two rookie cornerbacks on the roster, he might say they are ‘Avatar cornerbacks’. In fact, that is actually a Mike Tomlin thing, as he refers to the two of them, who have elite length for the position of Avatar cornerbacks.
“To have both of these young, as Coach likes to call them, ‘Avatar’ cornerbacks, it’s gonna be special, man,” Peterson said. “These guys, both of them, they want to learn. They want to get as much knowledge that they need to be successful.”
Trice had a monster week, while Porter Jr. worked into the starting lineup. Regardless, the rookies are exciting the older veterans and keeping them young. Safety Damontae Kazee knew the rookie cornerbacks were talented, but seeing them on the football field is an entirely different thing. After seeing them for the last two weeks, he’s as excited as anyone about them.
“These guys, along with us, we gotta be ballhawks and get those turnovers man,” Kazee said. “That’s what everybody thinks. These guys are all about that. They’re young and hungry. We love that.”
Peterson and Kazee both predict that those rookies will see the field sooner rather than later. With all the moving pieces, third-year safety Tre Norwood is seeing all the change in the Steelers secondary upfront. For the rookies, he sees a lot of what he saw as a rookie, and that is mentorship being reciprocated throughout the room.
“All of these new guys, they’ve been great,” Norwood said. “You look at Trice and Joey, they’re talented rookies who are showing out. Then, you have all of those veterans that have been around this league and proven themselves.”
Their teammates continue to be big fans of the rookie duo. It seems the coaching staff likes what they see out of the group, too. Regardless, the ‘Avatar Cornerbacks’ will be counted on at some point in 2023 and certainly beyond to make an impact on the Steelers defense.