The Pittsburgh Steelers will be seeing a lot of changes this week with old faces getting healthy and returning. But the team is also shaking up the depth chart with the healthy players they already had.
The biggest change? Artie Burns is starting over William Gay this week. That’s what he told the PPG’s Ray Fittipaldo.
Rookie Artie Burns told me after practice he will start this week for vet Will Gay. It's the first NFL start for the No. 25 overall pick.
— Ray Fittipaldo (@rayfitt1) November 3, 2016
Of course, with all the nickel and dime the Steelers run, 70-75% of the time, both are still going to play a lot. But Burns’ comments make it sound like he is going to be playing in base packages over Gay at his left cornerback spot. Which, frankly, is surprising.
Burns has struggled the past two weeks, notably against the run, so to throw him in packages where run support is most prevalent, like a base 3-4 when you’re facing a 12 or 21 grouping, is a bit puzzling.
Gay started all 16 games for the Steelers last season. He, to be fair, hasn’t played great either but is arguably the best tackling cornerback on the team.
Burns will start against a floundering Baltimore Ravens’ passing attack but one that has plenty of speed. Mike Wallace, Breshard Perriman, and Chris Moore all have big play ability.
This is one in a long list of changes the Steelers have made to their depth chart this season. Anthony Chickillo recently usurped Arthur Moats as the starting LOLB, Sean Davis was effectively benched from his nickel spot, which slid William Gay inside and put Burns as the RCB in nickel. Vince Williams was heavily involved in the linebacker rotation last week even as Ryan Shazier returned and deemed fully healthy.