Connect with us

Steelers News

Run Defense Important Test for Steelers Rookie CB



Steelers CB Joey Porter Jr.

UNITY TWP., Pa. — Pittsburgh Steelers rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr. is a big, strong physical specimen at 6-foot-2 and nearly 200 pounds.

Throughout the first part of the team’s 2023 training camp, we’ve seen Porter use that physicality in a long-running battle with similarly big and physical wide receiver George Pickens.

What we haven’t seen — at least until Tuesday — has been Porter using that size, strength and physicality in coming up in run support.

What we saw was a mixed bag. In 1 on 1 tackling drills against wide receivers — a drill that is pretty heavily skewed toward the offense — Porter struggled, losing four of five reps to Gunner Olszewski and Dez Fitzpatrick.

But in the team goal line period, he made an outstanding play to shed a block and stand up a hard charging Connor Heyward on a fullback run.

Porter can provide the Steelers a weapon to handle big, physical wide receivers, and his work against Pickens has proved his worth in that area. The season opener against the San Francisco 49ers will provide a strong test in that regard with Deebo Samuel.

But teams that like big, physical receivers are generally also teams that like to run the ball. If he’s going to be a big part of the Steelers’ coverage plan, he’s also going to have to be part of the tackling plan.

“That’s one of the reasons we did it today,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “We need to know more about him and others. Not only what they’re capable of, but teaching. We’ve got a lot of ball in front of us. He’ll have an opportunity to show his consistent capabilities in that area. I won’t draw conclusions on one day’s work.”

When the Steelers go against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Steelers won’t just be focusing on how Porter goes up against the likes of a Mike Evans or a Chris Godwin. They have wide receivers for him to battle with.

But his anticipation and ability in terms of sniffing out runs and tackling will be hugely important.

Steelers Now in Your Mailbox!

Enter your email address to get notifications of new posts in your mailbox.

Subscribe Today!