So the Pittsburgh Steelers went ahead and snuck in a late-night signing in the secondary, which you might have noticed kind of undercut an article that I schedule for the late morning about Joe Haden being the lone veteran presence in the secondary.
That’s fine. It happens sometimes when you write things in advance. But I’m not going to complain about the team bringing in a new starting safety, which is what they did in Morgan Burnett. At least, he figures to play somewhere, even if he hasn’t been told just where yet. There is plenty of time to figure that out.
The ninth-year veteran is a versatile player who has experience working at both safeties spots as well as in the slot and as a dime linebacker, the latter being a role that he saw extensively with the Green Bay Packers last season, which even resulted in him wearing the signal-calling green dot.
“It plays a role”, he told reporters yesterday after signing about being able to handle multiple positions. “Especially in this league, I think, the more you can do, [the longer] you can stay around. So I just try to do the best that I can, try to put my best foot forward. The only think I can do is be the best Morgan Burnett I can be and try to help out the team the best way that I can”.
That said, he was asked where he felt most comfortable in the field, and he had a clear preference. “Definitely at safety, of course. That’s where I came in to the league at, as a safety. The majority of my time in Green Bay I was a safety”, he said. “I have things in a my toolbox that I’m capable to move around to other positions if need be, but definitely I came into the league as a safety and that’s where I’m comfortable at”.
But when it comes to distinguishing between the roles of free safety and strong safety? He said it wasn’t important with the Packers. “In Green Bay, our defense was interchangeable, so it’s not really technically…if you’re a safety, you have to be able to play both”. He also said that “it doesn’t really matter to me” which one he plays in Pittsburgh, and that he doesn’t know yet.
“They haven’t said anything yet. I’m just coming in”, he responded to a media member’s question about the team’s plans for him just a short time after being signed.
“Like I said, everything’s new, so I’m just coming in to do my job the best that I can, earn the respect of my teammates, be accountable as a teammate, earn the respect of the coaches, and then just try to get in the routine with the rest of the fellas”.
The other fellas at the back end include Sean Davis, a third-year former second-round pick who has spent most of the past two seasons as the starting strong safety. In the mix as well is J.J. Wilcox, whom the Steelers acquired via trade in August. More of a strong safety type, he has some starting experience. Jordan Dangerfield and Malik Golden are the other safeties on the team.