DEPAOLI’S CAMP BUZZ
Cornerback Brandon Boykin joined the fold today at St. Vincent College after being acquired Saturday afternoon. Boykin known for being outspoken hasn’t been shy about taking shots at Eagles coach Chip Kelly, saying Kelly doesn’t understand people of Boykin’s culture.
“He can’t relate and that makes him uncomfortable,” Boykin told CSNPhilly.com. “He likes total control of everything, and he don’t like to be uncomfortable. Players excel when you let them naturally be who they are, and in my experience that hasn’t been important to him.”
Today meeting with Pittsburgh reporters, he explained his comments.
“When you’re a player you want to be able to relate to your coach, no matter what outside of football,” Boykin said. “So when we’re not talking football scheme, I want to be able to talk to you about whatever. There were times where he just wouldn’t talk to people. If you were walking down the hallway, he wouldn’t say anything to you. I don’t know what that is.”
“I’m not saying he’s a racist at all,” Boykin said.
Kelly and Boykin reportedly clashed last season over Boykin playing the slot corner when Boykin claimed Kelly told him he would get more opportunities on the outside and it never happened.
Kelly told reporters in Philadelphia today the Steelers had been trying to acquire Boykin since the draft.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin noted today the Steelers liked Boykin when he came out of college and with Senquez Golson injured, it was important to bring in another viable option.
“We liked Boykin coming out, not only as a corner but as a return man,” Tomlin said. “He’s a guy that makes plays above the neck. He’s also got some physical talent. He’s just another NFL capable veteran corner to put in the mix of a very competitive situation and We don’t have a lot of experience. There are some questions at the position. We don’t mind the lack of experience and the questions, but we’ve got to have enough viable candidates. And with Senquez being out, we thought it was important to acquire another viable option to put in the mix and let those guys sort themselves out over the course of the preseason.”
In sorting it out, the Steelers are four deep at cornerback when it comes to viable options to contribute in week 1 in William Gay, Cortez Allen, Brandon Boykin and Antwon Blake, and maybe five if Doran Grant’s strong week is a sign that he can emerge as a viable option but we’re weeks away from truly knowing.
If Senquez Golson can make it back, though, unlikely as Steelers officials fear he is done for the season, the Steelers could have six viable options this season. They lack a No. 1 cornerback and you can make the argument they don’t even have a true No. 2 cornerback but what the Steelers are hoping is a cornerback by committee is enough to get it done this season.
Boykin adds more needed competition at the least and he wasn’t shy as to why the Steelers acquired him.
“They got me because they know I can make plays,” The 5-foot-9 cornerback said today.
All of the rage this week was has been on the Steelers moving to a cover-2 defense. Their infatuation with smaller corners of late, a contrast from the cover-3 Dick LeBeau type corners the Steelers use to seek, the Boykin acquisition plays even more into the move to a cover-2.
That’s what he is. A cover-2 cornerback.
Sunday’s practice at Saint Vincent was another spirited affair, as the fans were treated to the first installment of the always entertaining goal line drill.
Head coach Mike Tomlin liked what he saw from the drill, with the offense scoring five out of six times, including two runs by rookie Cameron Stingley.
“A spirited effort today,” Tomlin said. “Just good work in those specific situations relative to football.”
It also featured the first practice for newly acquired cornerback Brandon Boykin, who Tomlin liked when he came out of college at the University of Georgia for his ability to play corner and contribute in the return game.
[ –In the highly anticipated goal line drill, the offense scored on five of six plays. Le’Veon Bell (run), Matt Spaeth (reception), Cameron Stingily (run), Jawon Chisholm (run), Cameron Stingily (run).
“I thought the offense dominated the goal line,” Tomlin said afterwards.
— The offense won the daily installment of seven shots for the second day in row, 4-3. Cameron Stingley won it for the offense with a two yard run off the right side.
— Dri Archer had another long run in team drills on Sunday. Archer ran off the left side, waited for his blocking to make a hole, and hit it for a long gain. Archer certainly doesn’t look like he’s in awe of being in the NFL like he was last year.
— Brad Wing, in competition with Jordan Berry for the punting job, hit three consecutive punts in which he drove the return man backwards.
— Doran Grant and Cortez Allen each had an interception in team drills. Grant’s would have been a pick six in a game, as he jumped an out route by Shakim Phillips and intercepted Tajh Boyd.
— Rookie running back Jawon Chisholm, in his first practice with the team, got a rude introduction from Vince Williams, who laid a bit hit on him near the sidelines.
Josh Harris (shoulder), Ryan Shazier (back), Mike Mitchell (hamstring), Ross Ventrone (leg) and Markus Wheaton (hamstring) did not practice.
Martavis Bryant also sat out with an infection on his elbow. Tomlin said Bryant will be out for a couple of days.
Tomlin also said he expects Maurkice Pouncey (foot) to practice tomorrow.
Along with Boykin, the team added Chisholm to the roster. To make room, the team released tight end Michael Egnew, and placed running back Ross Scheuerman on the waived/injured list. Scheuerman injured his achilles in Saturday’s practice. ] —