The journey toward the 2017 season is now in full swing with the Pittsburgh Steelers having reported to Latrobe for their annual training camp at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their camps for over half a century now.
This is surely the time more than any other in which we find ourselves full of questions that we are looking to get answered, and this also tends to be the best time to get answers to those questions that have been building up over the course of time since the 2016 season ended.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the training camp and the preseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: How significant is Artie Burns’ injury, both physically and in terms of missed opportunities?
If you were following along yesterday, you no doubt heard that the Steelers’ former first-round cornerback, Artie Burns, suffered what appeared to be a leg injury during the course of last night’s practice. He left the field at that point and did not return.
While it is obviously not a broken bone or anything to that degree, we don’t at the moment have much clarity about the nature of the injury and how much time it might result in the second-year player missing.
And practice time is crucial for young players, especially, of course, when they are in the starting lineup, as Burns is. He started for the majority of his rookie season and shared the team lead in interceptions, with the most total passes defensed, but he clearly had a lot of room for improvement.
And he was showing quite a bit of improvement over the course of the first week of training camp, based on virtually all first-hand accounts of the Steelers’ practice sessions. He spent the vast majority of time manning up against Antonio Brown, and while the first-team All-Pro wide receiver won more than his share of battles, Burns won many more than he did as a rookie.
He has carried himself with a different demeanor this offseason, expressing a great deal more confidence after gaining significant experience as a rookie. And the Steelers are counting on him bringing that into his second year on the field.
Missing any sort of time is a setback for Burns and for the Steelers, but it’s not the end of the world, either. While he still needs the reps, and to improve generally, he is already a capable player, and at the end of the day, his health is the most important part of the equation. Hopefully he doesn’t miss much time.