Steelers Confident in Secondary Depth

With Haden injury unclear, Sutton ready to capitalize

Josh Rowntree
September 10, 2018 - 3:22 pm
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton (20) tackles Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins (81) after a catch during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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One game in and the Steelers revamped secondary may have it’s depth tested. 

Cornerback Joe Haden left Sunday’s 21-21 tie in Cleveland with a hamstring injury and did not return. 

Haden was seen walking around the Steelers South Side practice facility Monday, with no apparent limp. 

If he is unable to play in this Sunday’s home opener against Kansas City, second-year corner Cam Sutton would likely get the call in his place. 

“You prepare for that every week, regardless if you are [starting] or not,” Sutton said. “It’s just how you’ve got to look at it. If the opportunity presents itself or you’re out there starting initially, you’ve just got to be ready to go.”

Sutton filled in Sunday when Haden left and had mixed results. He was tested right away, allowing a Josh Gordon touchdown catch that tied the game. When the Browns went after him again, he intercepted an under-thrown pass by Tyrod Taylor, sending the game to overtime. 

“I’m confident in our group,” safety Sean Davis said. “Cam came out there, they tested him. That’s what the NFL does. He lost his first battle, but he came back, bounced back and won the second one. 

“That’s expected of him. The standard’s the standard, so I’m confident in Cam Sutton.”

After missing the early part of the season with injury, Sutton got a fair amount of playing time late last year. So that experience may add to his comfortability in the system.

“It’s a new year,” he said. “You don’t really dwell on the past or last year. You come to work every week like everyone else. I just do what I do out there on the field, just have fun and fly around.”

“Cam has a real good skill set,” Davis added. “I’m glad he was able to show that as a rookie. He’s continuing to get better as well. 

“Collectively, we’re a group on the rise. Cam’s done his job in the offseason to prepare himself for moments like this, to be able to bounce back and showcase that he deserves to be out there again.”

Pittsburgh did a decent job containing big plays in Cleveland, but Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes has a cannon for an arm and is coming off a win over the Chargers in which he slung four touchdowns. 

“They’re going to attack our scheme,” Sutton said. “They’re going to try to find things to attack our defense and challenge guys on defense, whether it’s you eyes or your leverage or concepts.”

“That’s just kind of the nature of their offense. They have explosive guys on offense and an explosive quarterback as well. He looks to take shots down the field and has a lot of playmakers around him to do that.”

On the receiving end of two of Mahomes’ touchdown passes Sunday was speedster Tyreek Hill, who also returned a punt for a score. 

Despite less-than-stellar career numbers against Pittsburgh (58 yards receiving in two games), the Steelers secondary will focus on slowing him down this week.

“Tyreek is a smaller guy, a shifty guy, a speed guy,” Sutton said. “It always comes down to fundamental technique, trusting yourself and doing what you’ve got to do.”

“They’ve got a great offense, a lot of weapons,” Davis added. “It’s going to be a good challenge for us defensively. It’s a good week for us to bounce back and come out with a victory.”

Hear more from Cam Sutton below.