Originally appeared on EndZoneNews.com.
When Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor broke his thumb in the team’s first preseason game against the Redskins, he may have actually helped out his teammates.
Surely, Taylor didn’t wish for a broken thumb, but his injury won’t affect any playing time during the regular season.
Taylor’s thumb will force him to miss the remainder of the preseason. His injury, along with an hamstring injury to Bryant McFadden, opens up a large amount of time on the field for younger members of the Steelers secondary.
Especially William Gay and Keenan Lewis.
Gay, who signed a contract extension at the start of camp, started opposite Taylor last season once McFadden went down with an injury, but after a lackluster season defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau is ready for Lewis, a third-year corner out of UCF, to step up and compete with Gay to be the second starter.
With Taylor growing into one of the leagues toughest corners to match up against, opponents picked on Gay last season. He will probably retain the role across from Taylor again this year, but this preseason will give playing time to his inexperienced teammates like Lewis, Crezdon Butler, Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown and Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith.
The Steelers also added some veteran talent to the secondary by signing Kevin Dockery.
Ike Taylor will be able to return to action during the Steelers Week 1 meeting with the Baltimore Ravens. The preseason will determine who will be his sidekick. The mental reps and game experience during this preseason will be key in establishing confidence across their All-Pro corner.