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  1. #1
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Curtis Brown starting to turn heads

    After battling those hamstring injuries in training camp and preseason, he's been able to get significant playing time this season especially on special teams. These young guys, especially DB's can really make their mark on the coverage and return units.

    Will Gay signed a 1 yr. deal this past offseason so it remains to be seen if the Steelers will bring him back next year but if they don't, guys like Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen, and Curtis Brown will have this valuable year of experience to help propel their careers.
    Curtis Brown is patiently waiting his turn to man one of the corners of the Steelers defense. Yet, the unassuming defensive back has quietly had a productive rookie season.

    Brown, a third-round draft pick, is working hard to earn playing time behind starters Ike Taylor and William Gay. But the team's fourth pick, cornerback Cortez Allen, has moved into the rotation ahead of Brown.

    However, Brown has stood out among a rookie class forced into duty, in part, because of early season injuries. The former University of Texas standout has easily been the most consistent player on special teams.

    "He's got a different sense of urgency than most," coach Mike Tomlin said. "His hair is on fire. This guy competes when he's in position to make plays. He competes when he is in less than ideal positions."

    Brown excels in kick coverage, having amassed a team-high 13 tackles — including 11 solo tackles. He has twice as many as Allen and linebacker Stevenson Sylvester, both of whom have six tackles.

    "He's an exciting young guy, not only because of what he's doing on special teams," Tomlin said. "Generally, if a guy plays with that kind of production on special teams, it's a window to what he may be capable of doing at some point on offense or defense."
    Brown will be thrust into the spotlight against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night at Heinz Field. He'll be challenged to bottle up return specialist Josh Cribbs, who has tormented the Steelers in the past.

    "(Special teams) coach (Al Everest) showed us clips of him against us in the past, and he always made plays," Brown said. "Obviously, he's dangerous, but I'm not looking at him any differently because you have to compete and keep your passion up -- that's what I do."

    Cribbs hasn't been nearly as effective this season, mostly because of blown blocking assignments and a new rule change — kickoffs at the 40 — that has marginally affected kick returns throughout the league. He is 26th in the league with a 26.4-yard average on 29 kickoff returns with a season-best of 63 yards.
    "It's been a little frustrating, but we've been close to making things happen in the return game," Cribbs said.

    Cribbs had three kickoff returns for touchdowns in 2009 — including a 98-yarder against the Steelers. He smartly picked his way through the first wave of Steelers, and out-raced Gay along the right sideline for one of his 10 career returns for touchdowns, which is fifth all-time behind the record 17 of Chicago's Devin Hester.
    Brown relishes the challenge of facing one of the league's premier return men.
    "It's hard to make a play every week, but he's always good to bust one open," Brown said. "We have to attack because we know what he's capable of doing. He's one of those guys that can make something out of nothing. We have to keep that in our heads."

    Brown, though, hardly seemed concerned as he stretched out near his locker after Tuesday's morning practice.

    For the most part, pro scouts where impressed with Brown during his final two seasons with the Longhorns, partly because of his tackling technique and calm demeanor. Surprisingly, he slid down the draft board for the Steelers who were looking to shore up an aging secondary that was sixth-best in the AFC in 2010.

    "He's as competitive a person as I've been around in a long time," Everest said. "He's going to be fine in our defense, too. Guys like that are hard to find."

    Even though his progress was slowed by a handful of nagging injuries in the preseason, Brown didn't hang his head as he watched from the sidelines at St. Vincent College. After all, there was plenty of competition for his roster spot.

    "It was hard (in training camp), but everything happens for a reason," he said. "This is just another step in being a good NFL player. It's something I have to do. Maybe, I'll get my shot when I've developed enough as a cornerback."

    For now, he's developed into the team's best player on special teams.

  2. #2
    Starter SnakeEyes43's Avatar
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    He's played great on ST lately. He seems like he's got some great potential.
    Bleeding Black and Gold since 86'

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    I am pretty great. Rampage's Avatar
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    Brown, C. Allen and Sylvester have all been impressing me on ST coverage lately. You always see 31, 28 and 55 flying to the ball. Nice to see after so many seasons of mediocrity.

  4. #4
    Draft Pick pimplydan's Avatar
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    Great read thanks rockcity !!!!!

    Tomlin with another fine quote ............ his hair is on fire ...............

    Glad to see that Brown is coming along and even happier to see that he is such a competitor . I hope he becomes a starter at corner , we need some new light at that position .

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    2nd String tburg68's Avatar
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    Bring Gay back, and let Will Allen go.

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Curtis Brown is really the best gunner the Steelers have had in some time.......Much better then the so called special team aces Sean Morey, Anthony Madison, or whatever bum Cowher use to like to keep for just being a special team ace....Tomlin likes using draft picks to play special teams and really the improvement is starting to show.....

  7. #7
    Starter Goodfrom55's Avatar
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    In the NFL, especially on special teams, you are only as good as your last play. He's been the model of consistency and plays with passion. Hope it continues.

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    CB is no longer a position of dire need. That's good to see. I'm happy with the kids and Ike has played reall well this year. Good bunch.

  9. #9
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    best gunner since chidi iwuoma.

    love hearing that hes itching to play

  10. #10
    JensK's Avatar
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    Hopefully he'll turn into a great CB as well. I really liked him when he played for the Longhorns. With Lewis playing pretty well as well I like our CB depth right now.
    However much you think you know about football, rest assured that Skip Bayless knows more!

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