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WhoDat!656 03-15-2013 11:32 PM

Steelers Bloggers Thoughts on Keenan Lewis
 
Many around Pittsburgh seemed to think that re-signing Keenan Lewis should be the team's top priority this season in Free Agency. Lewis put together a very good season last year in his first year as a starter, which turned into a sizable contract on the open market. Lewis had an up-and-down career with the Steelers, but is primed for a breakout season next year. Lewis was drafted in the third round in 2009 and was hampered by injuries his rookie season that eventually landed him on injured reserve. Entering his second year, Lewis was expected to take on a bigger role in the secondary and on special teams, but had one of the worst preseason games imaginable in Denver (when he actually got to start due to injuries). In that game, Lewis took 3 personal foul penalties in the first half and was benched. Before halftime. In a preseason game. Lewis reportedly broke a bulletin board hanging on the wall in the locker room after the game. Lewis wasn't heard from much the rest of the 2010 season and spent much of it on special teams where he showed limited effectiveness as a gunner, repeatedly running out of bounds and drawing flags. Lewis ended the 2010 season on IR with a back injury as the Steelers made a run to the Super Bowl.



The 2011 season saw a big change in Lewis. In an interview, he credited this to him dedicating himself to his career and the realization that he was in the last year of his contract and had to start acting like a professional to earn money for his family. After Bryant McFadden's effectiveness waned, Lewis surpassed McFadden on the depth chart and became the Steelers #3 corner. Due to his size and skill set, Lewis would play the outside on 3rd downs with starter William Gay moving to the inside to play the slot. Lewis made his only career interception in a Monday night game in Kansas City when Dwayne Bowe alligator-armed a deep pass from Tyler Palko with under a minute to play and the Chiefs within a touchdown. Lewis' play progressed so well during the 2011 season that the Steelers felt comfortable cutting McFadden and letting Gay walk in free agency in 2012 when they placed a restricted free agent tender on Lewis. Lewis entered 2012 with only one career game as a starter, but filled out the #2 corner role quite nicely. Lewis became known as a tape junkie and made some excellent plays to break up passes. One of the best came in Cincinnati when AJ Green had broken free from Ike Taylor and was running open in the middle of the field. Lewis came off his man who was running a shallow cross and made a beeline for the goal line where he broke up a surefire touchdown for Green. Lewis credited his film study and having seen Cincinnati run the play a lot as the reason he let his man go and went to the deep middle.



In Lewis, the Saints are getting a fundamentally sound corner that can play on an island against bigger receivers. Lewis is not a playmaker in the secondary, as evidenced by his one career interception. What Lewis does bring is solid positional play, which led to his 23 passes defended (second in the league behind Richard Sherman's 24). The difference between Lewis and the other top corners in passes defended is interceptions. Sherman led the league with 24 PDs and tacked on 8 picks. Tim Jennings (Chicago) and Casey Heyward (Green Bay) had 21 PDs each with 9 and 6 interceptions respectively. Lewis is a solid tackler, finishing 4th on the team last season with 71 total tackles. All in all, the Saints are getting a quality player that is entering his prime, but Saints Nation should beware that Lewis is probably not going to make a lot of "splash" plays on the outside.

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Keenan Lewis was the project to get a long-term starting CB either opposite Ike Taylor or to eventually take over for him. As a young defensive back, he had plenty of struggles early in his career but really came around and turned into a solid cornerback in 2012. Now, the question is whether that was a fluke season or if it was really him maturing into a good NFL player? From watching him, I'd say it's the latter. As for his lack of turnovers, that's been a plague on the Steelers for the past few seasons. The Steelers' turnover game is predicated on the front 7 forcing the quarterback to make a bad decision. That unit has struggled with age and declining play simultaneously with Lewis working his way into the starting lineup. His lack of interceptions have been more about bad timing, career-wise, than his personal ability. It's not as though he drops balls that hit him in the hands all the time, it's more about his lack of playing time with the dominant pass rush the Steelers used to boast and becoming a starter right as James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley started to lose their edge.

As for 3-4 defenses, I don't tend to think they impact cornerbacks all that much, save for the fact that Lewis will be more used to zone coverage than man-to-man. He's an athletic, talented kid though. I'm sure he'll be able to pick up whatever Rob Ryan is laying down in New Orleans this year.

Saints Nation: Steelers Bloggers Thoughts on Keenan Lewis

Seer1 03-15-2013 11:42 PM

Re: Steelers Bloggers Thoughts on Keenan Lewis
 
71 tackles, hell that's more than we got last year wasn't it?

dizzle88 03-16-2013 05:27 AM

Re: Steelers Bloggers Thoughts on Keenan Lewis
 
I've read a lot of steelers bloggers saying the same thing, that his hands aren't the greatest but here's my view

If he broke 23 passes up last season and continues like that with us, sooner or later he will catch a pick, The reason our corners never get a pick is we can never contest a pass in the air, patrick robinson only had like 5 passes defensed all year

I like the signing, big physical corner with speed aswell

Lets get Asomugha now :P

FinSaint 03-16-2013 06:03 AM

Re: Steelers Bloggers Thoughts on Keenan Lewis
 
His size alone is something the Saints desperately needed, so I'm pretty sure he will make the DB line-up stronger whatever the case might be when it comes to him being or not being an impact player (i.e. lots of INTs).

hagan714 03-16-2013 07:26 AM

Re: Steelers Bloggers Thoughts on Keenan Lewis
 
first thing he and the rest of the secondary need to do is work with the jug machine for an hour everyday after practice. catch catch catch.

FinSaint 03-16-2013 07:36 AM

Re: Steelers Bloggers Thoughts on Keenan Lewis
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hagan714 (Post 486954)
first thing he and the rest of the secondary need to do is work with the jug machine for an hour everyday after practice. catch catch catch.



http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/5494/jugjugjug.jpg

|Mitch| 03-16-2013 08:37 AM

Re: Steelers Bloggers Thoughts on Keenan Lewis
 
As long as he can tackle, he's an immediate upgrade!

QBREES9 03-16-2013 10:09 AM

Re: Steelers Bloggers Thoughts on Keenan Lewis
 
My Steelers friends say we got a good one.

Danno 03-16-2013 10:33 AM

Re: Steelers Bloggers Thoughts on Keenan Lewis
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hagan714 (Post 486954)
first thing he and the rest of the secondary need to do is work with the jug machine for an hour everyday after practice. catch catch catch.

I'm sure they already do that. I'd love for them to hire a WR coach and train under him for a few weeks. I remember a LB that wanted to work on his drops, so he practiced with the CB's when they did their back-pedal drills. Forgot who that was tho.

I wonder if Curtis Johnson has a couple free weekends to make some extra spending cash?

Rugby Saint II 03-16-2013 09:49 PM

Re: Steelers Bloggers Thoughts on Keenan Lewis
 
He played well in a contract year......saying he needed to make money for his family. Hmmmmm..........................:brood:


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