Not long after the Pittsburgh Pirates broke up a no-hitter and won a game on the same swing, the Pittsburgh Steelers swung desperately for help at cornerback by trading for Washington’s Dashaun Phillips.
Phillips is from Tarleton State (TX) and has played in a total of 11 games for the Redskins starting two. He originally signed with Dallas as unrestricted free agent in 2014. In exchange, the Steelers sent center Lucas Crowley who I’m assuming most Steelers’ fans had never heard of prior to tonight right?
Phillips is about 5′ 11″ and is fairly athletic but he’s not overly physical. He does appear to be ‘willing’ when it comes to supporting the run though. Where Mike Tomlin plans to use Phillips is uncertain as of this writing but here’s what we know.
Ross Cockrell has struggled in the preseason and that’s being nice. He just isn’t a man cornerback and any thought to the contrary is wrong. He’s built to play zone and that’s it. Look no further than the Sunday’s game for proof. Whether Phillips is destined for Cockrell’s spot is unclear.
Rookie Cam Sutton was thought to be in line for that spot but he’s been hurt throughout the preseason. Coty Sensabaugh has experience on the boundary but I’m not sure they want him there either. Senquez Golson is talented but unreliable while Sutton has been unable to participate and William Gay is 32 and could struggle to make the final roster.
The cost for getting Phillips is essentially nothing so if he doesn’t work out it doesn’t cost the Steelers anything. What the move signals however is that once again the Steelers have not addressed the secondary well enough in the offseason.
This trade is nothing more than a desperate attempt to strike gold. Unfortunately this will likely be a swing and a miss.