Coty Sensabaugh says foot is ‘OK,’ won’t commit to if he’s Steelers permanent starting RCB
The way Coty Sensabaugh characterized it Monday, his understanding of his playing time during the prior day’s game against the Cleveland Browns was that it was remaining status quo. Generally over the past four games, that had meant Sensabaugh and Artie Burns alternating playing two consecutive drives each.
So what did coaches say to Sensabaugh on Sunday after he had started and when the third Cleveland series was about to begin?
“They just said, ‘Go back in,’” the veteran cornerback said Monday.
So, Sensabaugh did. And he did again. And again - and that continued throughout the remainder of the game until Sensabaugh suffered a left foot injury during the fourth quarter.
On Monday, Sensabaugh characterized his health as “It’s OK.” He was without any cast or wrap or other visible hindrance on the foot, and he wasn’t showing any noticeable limp.
So, assuming Sensabaugh is healthy, has he usurped Burns as the Steelers’ permanent starting right cornerback?
Sensabaugh is too savvy of a veteran to tip the Steelers’ hand.
“I don’t know; you’d have to ask the coaches that,” he said. “I go out there and prepare every day like I am going to be the guy, and whenever my opportunity comes I just try to take advantage of it.”
As a gathering of reporters around him gradually increased from a pair to more than a dozen (counting cameramen), Sensabaugh was asked twice more if the right cornerback job was his.
“I don’t focus on that; I just focus on getting better every day and doing whatever I can to help this team win.”
One more time: “I don’t think too much about that. I just focus on getting better every day and I can live with the results, however they are.”
After Sensabaugh’s injury Sunday, Cameron Sutton replaced him; Burns did not play a snap on defense in the game following one in which he was benched in the fourth quarter at Cincinnati.
An ESPN report cited unnamed sources in explaining Burns’ absence from the defense as disciplinary as the result of being late to a team activity last week. Coach Mike Tomlin had repeatedly said last week that Burns needed to play to get himself out of his slump.
Regardless, though, of Burns’ status going forward, Sensabaugh has thus far been no worse than an adequate replacement - particularly for a player who less than two months ago was so far down the depth chart he was a Sunday inactive for the season opener at Cleveland.
“I think I did a decent job” is how Sensabaugh termed his performance against the Browns, but he lamented a dropped interception.
Sensabaugh has started at least two games (and played at least 13) over each of his seven NFL seasons, including four last season after left cornerback Joe Haden suffered a broken leg.
Sensabaugh, though, ceded that spot to Sutton before Haden returned to action. Is Sensabaugh better equipped to hold on to a job this year than last?
“This season is still going on, so I don’t really think this is a fair comparison considering last year is over and in the books,” Sensabaugh said. “So maybe we will look back at the end of the season and I will be able to answer that.”
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