So far this season, Pittsburgh Steelers starting cornerback Antwon Blake hasn’t played very well and that really stuck out in Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. On Tuesday, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked to evaluate Blake’s play in that game and as you would probably would expect, he refused to throw the cornerback under the bus.
“I thought he did some good things,” said Tomlin of Blake, who left the Chiefs game briefly in order to be evaluated for a concussion. “I thought he could’ve played better in some instances like we all could have, players and coaches particularly. In situational ball, on some of the third downs like I mentioned there over the last 30 minutes, I thought were significant.”
Even though Blake hasn’t played overly well, Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers coaches have refused to bench him in favor of cornerback Brandon Boykin, who the team acquired via a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles during training camp. On Tuesday, Tomlin was asked about Boykin and whether or not he’s more comfortable with him playing inside at the slot position or outside.
“I’m comfortable with him if called upon,” said Tomlin of Boykin, who played 10 snaps on Sunday against the Chiefs due to injuries. “And obviously if Will Gay is not available to us, we’ll expect him to be a positive contributor to our efforts. He was in many instances last Sunday.”
By the sound of things, you can probably expect Boykin to continue on with his role as the team’s fourth cornerback. As it stands right now, William Gay and Blake look as though they’ll continue to start with Ross Cockrell coming in to play one of the two outside spots when the team uses their nickel sub package.
If Gay, however, is unable to play this Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals due to a shoulder contusion that he suffered late in the game against the Chiefs, Boykin will likely see time as the slot corner in sub packages. On Monday, Boykin said he’ll be ready if and when his number is called.
“If there is an opportunity for me to play, I want to play,” Boykin said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I am capable of doing it. I have to be patient and wait for that to happen and when it happens, I am 1,000 percent sure that I am going to do what I have been doing the past three or four years of my career.”
Boykin will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He’s played a total of 23 defensive snaps in the Steelers first seven games.