Pittsburgh Steelers third-year defensive back Antwon Blake was second on the team in special teams tackles in 2013 and he’s going to be hard to keep off of the 53 man roster this year. It takes a unique kind of player to be successful on special teams and Blake recently went over a few of those characteristics.
“I feel like if you want to play special teams you have to have a high motor and great work ethic, because every special teams play is most of the time one single play,” said Blake, who was signed by the Steelers just prior to the start of the 2013 season following his release from the Jacksonville Jaguars. “So you got to go your hardest on one play at a time and the people that do that successfully, I feel like they’re the ones that make an instant impact.”
Blake also revealed his thought process when running down the field to cover punts or kickoffs.
“My mindset when I go down there, I just want to be a wrecking ball,” said Blake. “I feel like nobody can stop me. Somebody gets in my way, I’ve got to move him. I got to bowl through them.”
In addition to being a standout special teams player for the Steelers, Blake is also showing that he has value as a cornerback. Special teams coach CarnellLake praised the Texas-El Paso product during the May draft and Blake talked about what it’s like to play for him.
“Carnell Lake is someone who I’ve been a fan of growing up,” said Blake of his position coach. “To my eyes, he’s a sure Hall of Famer, so it’s kind of a dream come true to be coached by someone like him. It’s easy to listen to him. It’s easy to understand what he’s saying and believe what’s coming out of his mouth because I’ve seen him do the things that he’s asking of us. And it’s just a great feeling to know that you’re being coached by somebody with that kind of pedigree and background.”
As far as goals for Blake moving forward, they’re really quite simple.
“For one, I want to continue to raise the level of play that I have on special teams to maintain my niche with that, but also at corner, I want to emerge as someone who’s in the lineup consistently and ultimately becomes a starter.”