As many of you should know by now, the Pittsburgh Steelers finally shook up their secondary Sunday night in their home win over the Indianapolis Colts and that included cornerback Brandon Boykin seeing his most extensive playing time of the season. Now that our defensive charting from that game has been completed, I thought you would like to know how the four cornerbacks were used.
For starters, you need to throw out the final 12 defensive snaps of the game because of William Gay needing to leave because of a possible concussion. From that point forward, Boykin, Antwon Blake and Ross Cockrell were all on the field.
As expected, Boykin only played as the nickel in the Steelers sub package throughout the game. He didn’t play during the Steelers first two defensive series, however, and this is likely because of the Colts being deep in Pittsburgh’s end as a result of the two early turnovers.
Boykins first snap in the game came with 4:15 left in the first quarter with Gay and Blake manning the outside cornerback spots. The very next play, a third and long, Boykin registered his interception.
Boykin’s next 28 snaps in the game came with Gay and Cockrell manning the two outside spots so that should give you an idea as to how Blake was primarily used throughout the game as he was the outside corner opposite Gay in the team’s base defense up until the final 12 defensive snaps.
Of the 9 snaps that Blake played after the first three Colts offensive series, and up until Gay left injured, all of them included Indianapolis having two or more tight ends on the field.
Assuming Gay is able to play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, I suspect we’ll see the Steelers attempt to use the same rotation that they used against the Colts with Blake not seeing the field much in the team’s nickel sub package.