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Veteran Steelers CB Has Uncertain Role With Team




UNITY TWP., Pa. — James Pierre did not have the game he wanted on Friday against the Buccaneers. The veteran cornerback heading into his fourth season allowed six catches on six targets for 92 yards, allowing a perfect quarterback rating when targeted.

So, when defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was asked about Pierre and his performance in the game, he knows the positives of Pierre’s game, but could not back down from seeing the struggles he presented against the team. Playing for most of the game due to thinner lines, Pierre struggled to latch onto the fourth cornerback spot with the Steelers.

“He plays hard. But I thought he left some plays out there that he could’ve made,” Austin said. “So, we’ll continue to work with him to get him to where he needs to be. I think he’s still in a position where he brings good value to the team. But is he the 4th CB or the 5th CB and special teams guy? We don’t know that yet. We’ll work to find that out.”

Pierre was in a battle for the job with Cory Trice, but Trice suffered a significant right knee injury that will end his season. As a result, the Steelers need to find out if Pierre can be the guy who can be relied upon in in-depth situations, or if they need to go out and find someone that can give them a better level of security.

Pierre is a critical member of the punt coverage and kick coverage unit, carving out a role for himself as one of the team’s best gunners over the years. Now, he needs to stand out in practice and the rest of the preseason in order to lock down the CB4 job, or he could be relegated to just a special teams role.

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