STEELERS – MONDAY
PITTSBURGH — Cornerback Brandon Boykin has played in every game since the Philadelphia Eagles selected him in the fourth round during the 2012 NFL Draft.
And he certainly played for his new team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, during their game at New England last Thursday night. But it was all on special teams. There were no defensive snaps for Boykin, and that was a first for the fourth-year player as a pro.
“You always want to play more, and you definitely want to get on the field in general,” Boykin said Monday. “But that wasn’t the case last week. I don’t know why or what the deal is or the reason was for that, so I really can’t answer that question. You’ll have to ask the coaches about that.”
The Steelers sent a conditional fifth-round draft pick in 2016 to the Eagles to acquire Boykin right after training camp opened to bolster a secondary that needed a lot of help and experience. Boykin has seven interceptions with six in 2013, so he was believed to be an immediate help. Instead, there was nothing.
“I know the defense,” Boykin said. “I know what to do. I feel comfortable, and I know if I get out there I can contribute and make plays. … We had a month of training camp, and I’ve been here practicing along with everybody else.
“Of course, you’re continuing to learn on the fly, but as far as when we’re playing certain coverages it’s kind of just football. You beat your man, and I know that I can contribute and play. So, we’ll see what happens in the future.”
Boykin’s attitude was good, and his conviction appeared to be as strong as ever that he still had a future with the Steelers.
“I’m not frustrated,” Boykin said. “I don’t even know what’s going on. You know, it’s just Week 1, and it’ll kind of play out as we go along this week and the rest of the week. But I definitely intend on playing, at some point, and I definitely think it’ll be a conversation that I have if it continues to go this route.
“But right now, I don’t know what’s going on. (But) it was the first time in my career that I didn’t play any defensive snaps. That’s really not going to change the fact that I believe I can contribute or that I will at some point. That’s the mindset that I have about it.”
The Steelers secondary was questionable coming into the season, and it remains that way after an uneven opening game when preseason starting safety Shamarko Thomas wasn’t even the No. 3 safety. Special teams captain Robert Golden played. Former starting cornerback Cortez Allen was the No. 3 corner and new arrival Boykin didn’t get on the field on defense.
And the players who got the most action in the secondary didn’t exactly do a bang-up job keeping Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski under-wraps.
“Anytime you play in this league and you’re a competitor, you want to be out on the field,” Boykin said. “And to watch my teammates go out there and not get the job done, that was a little bit frustrating. But you have to stay positive throughout the whole process.
“It’s a long season, and like I’ve said I’m intending to help out and contribute. But I don’t make those decisions. So, I just have to continue to go out there and work hard during practice.”
Boykin observed that the Steelers defenders didn’t appear to be ready when the Patriots went to their no-huddle offense.
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