Lewis Credits Lake for CB Improvement

Keenan Lewis and Cortez Allen are two surprising stories this season, and Lewis credits new DB coach Carnell Lake. Also, Mike Wallace responds to Lardarius Webb and James Farrior questions reports of a month-long demise.

PITTSBURGH – Keenan Lewis went unnoticed against the New England Patriots, and of course for a cornerback that's a good thing.

One time he was noticed was on a long pass to Chad Ochocinco, when Lewis appeared to be the wide receiver who couldn't catch up to Tom Brady's overthrow.

The third-year pro showed on that play that's he's covering his man and then some.

"I told you, and he's just warming up," Mike Wallace said about his friend. "Wait till Keenan hits his peak. I'll let you know when he hits his peak. He's a baller man."

Lewis said he's experiencing a breakout of sorts this season because of new secondary coach Carnell Lake.

"He's a great coach," said Lewis. "He played the game, was successful at it, so he's got those special tips that some coaches just can't give you."

For example, Lake has given Lewis specific tips on how to improve his man coverage and bump skills.

"He's probably the best coach I've had my entire life," Lewis said. "I'm proud to have him around. He helped me out a whole lot, also the group."

Part of that group is rookie fourth-round pick Cortez Allen, who was assigned mainly to cover Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski last Sunday.

"He grasped it quicker than I did when I was a rookie," Lewis said of Allen. "Him and Curtis [Brown], they both have a great skill set and they're bringing it to the table."

Wallace, too, is impressed with Allen.

"He's a hard worker," Wallace said. "Guy's so big and long. He gets his hands on you and he can control you kind of. He works hard every day. I think he's going to be a great player to tell you the truth. He has everything you need."

Allen is a 6-1, 196-pounder out of The Citadel who's made five tackles in the last five quarters this season.

"His ceiling is so high," Wallace said. "If he keeps his work ethic up he's going to be really good because he has all the tools. He can run for someone that big. And if he gets his hands on you – he's kind of like Keenan, even bigger than Keenan."


Before taking the field for practice Thursday, James Farrior wondered about the report that said he would miss a month with a torn calf.

"I don't know where that report came from," he said. "That's never been a thought in our minds, in the trainer's eyes. I don't know where y'all got that from."

Farrior said his calf is strained, not torn. He said he "tweaked it" against Arizona and then aggravated it at the next practice.

"We came up with a decision that I wasn't going to play against the Patriots," he said. "I was looking forward to trying to be able to play in this one."

Farrior practiced Thursday in a "limited" fashion, according to the Steelers, who also listed James Harrison, Jonathan Scott, Hines Ward and LaMarr Woodley as "limited" at practice. The only players who didn't practice at all were Doug Legursky (toe) and Emmanuel Sanders, whose mother died earlier in the week.

Harrison could play Sunday if he passes exams on his eye Friday and Saturday.


Wallace fired back at Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb, who told The Baltimore Sun earlier this week that "they have a guy in 84, Antonio Brown, who's better than 17 [Wallace] in all aspects of the game."

Wallace, of course, leads all current NFL players with an average yards-per-catch of 19.8 in his three-year career.

"He's a clown," said Wallace. "That guy really doesn't matter to me, man. Every time that dude checks me he's 20-30 yards off me. So for him to talk, tell him come out and check me and stop being a scared little bitch."

Wallace, while clearly angry about the topic, said he's not motivated.

"He can't motivate me," Wallace said. "You've got to be a great player to motivate me, man. This guy is clearly not a guy to motivate me."

Webb came into the league the same year as Wallace. He was selected four picks after Wallace in the third round in 2009 and the two have had their battles since.

"That guy cannot check me. That's just putting it plain and simple," Wallace said. "He can't check me. There's nothing he can do to check me. He's always 20 yards off when he checks me. He [is] a scared-ass little bitch, so tell him come see me."

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