It’s tough for a rookie to get comfortable and earn trust after missing nearly an entire training camp. And ten years ago, Artie Burns would’ve been treated like a redshirt player. Scout team fodder, an understanding that his time would have to wait for another year.
But the climate has changed. And Burns has showed the ability to get back in step with the defense. Mike Tomlin praised him for that in his press conference Tuesday.
“Think Artie played roughly 85% of the snaps or so. He’s quickly continuing to make up a lot of the ground he missed during the preseason with injury. It’s important he continues to respect the time missed with the work and extra work he’s put in.”
He had his best game as a Steeler Sunday night, officially recording four tackles and two pass deflections while nearly breaking up one more. That included an incompletion deep down the left sideline against Tyreek Hill, one of the fastest players in the league, a rookie who ran a sub 4.3 at his Pro Day.
His snap count has increased weekly, partly due to necessity, partly due to his own progression, going from nine in Week One to 65 snaps in this week’s win over Kansas City.
Tomlin credits Burns’ work ethic and play early on in the season as a catalyst for the larger role he’s received now.
“He’s in the process of continuing to earn out trust…to his credit, his attention to detail and urgency during practice has been excellent. I think that’s provided a sense of comfort and allowed him to work into some packages and with that play, he’s earning more. He’s going through a process of growth and development and proving that he’s capable. Doing a good job in the big scheme of things but that needs to continue.”
Burns’ development will allow the Steelers to use their dime package when the rest of the secondary, Sean Davis and Robert Golden, get healthy, with the first rounder at his right cornerback spot.