New Pittsburgh Steelers starting safety Morgan Burnett hasn’t gotten a whole lot of love yet for his play, the majority choosing to focus on a couple of bad angles that he has taken over the course of his first two preseason games. I’m going to try to change that narrative and show that, outside of a couple of blips, he has been as advertised.
Let’s get that first play out of the way though. On the second defensive play of the game, Aaron Rodgers and Davantae Adams got the better of Coty Sensabaugh, who was tucked into the slot with the Packers motioning the running back out wide. Burnett, who was playing 15 yards off the ball at the snap, took a bad angle to enable the 27-yard catch-and-run.
No, that wasn’t a good play, but it was the second play of the game. It got getter. He showed solid open-field tackling, as on this scramble by Brett Hundley, twisting him down by the legs. This was a third and two and the quarterback did get the first down, but it was a good play from where he was positioned.
He would pretty much go on to singlehandedly stop that drive once the Packers hit the red zone, making plays on three consecutive snaps. On first down, he broke into the backfield, playing the run up in the box, and recorded a nice takedown of running back Ty Montgomery for a loss of a yard.
On the following play, the Steelers got Hundley scrambling again, and for the second time, it was Burnett coming up and making a strong open-field tackle. This time, he didn’t allow the quarterback any positive yardage, setting up a third and 11.
With the young quarterback in unfavorable down and distance, the Steelers sent his former teammate on a blitz, along with Vince Williams. The running back stuck with Williams coming around the edge as Burnett blitzed from a deep position. Both blew through into the backfield and forced Hundley into a bad pass for an incompletion, settling for a field goal.
For those worrying, Burnett is going to do alright. He has a long-earned reputation of being a strong tackler and we did see that last week. We should get a longer look at him tomorrow night, so if you would please save your aspersions until then.