While much was made of Pittsburgh Steelers rookie safety Terrell Edmunds being given the opportunity to start in the season opener against the Cleveland Browns, the numbers show that he did play most of the game, but not all of it. Officially, he played 74 of 89 snaps, Sean Davis being the only defender to play every snap.
Morgan Burnett, in the meantime, logged 40 snaps, or about 45 percent of the team’s total defensive snaps, and that occurred in a mixture of rotating with Edmunds and being brought on as a third safety. Burnett was credited with two tackles. Edmunds did not have any tackles, but was credited with a pass defensed, and he did register one quarterback hit on a blitz.
The question is now whether this is a permanent starting role or if Burnett is going to work his way into the starting lineup after he missed half of the preseason and extended amounts of training camp, not to mention minicamp in the spring.
While he did not comment on whether or not he would remain in the starting lineup, Edmunds did tell Chris Adamski that he felt he played a good game overall, and that he doesn’t believe that he had any issues with communication. Cornerback Mike Hilton said before the game that he had been communicating well.
For the rookie, though, he was not looking at this as his first game. “We already had four games already”, he said, referring to the preseason. He played extensively in most of them, including making three starts, first in place of Davis and then of Burnett. “You’ve got to count those, so this wasn’t the first time out there”.
Edmunds spent a lot of his time in the box, which does make it a bit more surprising that he failed to register any tackles, but when Vince Williams and T.J. Watt have about 23 between them, I guess it doesn’t leave a whole lot left over. According to Pro Football Focus, he didn’t even miss any tackles. He just wasn’t in any plays.
He was negatively involved in one particular pass play. the rookie was flagged for holding as his teammate, Davis, recorded what would have been an interception. The penalty obviously wiped out the turnover, though the Browns ended up punting.
It Edmunds remains in the starting lineup, and Joe Haden is unable to make it back next week, then the Steelers are going to start an incredibly young secondary. With Artie Burns and Davis in their third seasons, Hilton and Cameron Sutton in their second, and Edmunds as a rookie, that may be the youngest defensive backfield to line up during Week Two.