Fairness Not At Issue During Brandon Boykin’s Tenure In Pittsburgh

Brandon Boykin

The big news around western Pennsylvania yesterday came in the form of the Panthers coming to terms with former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Brandon Boykin, who spent about seven months in the black and gold after being traded for in early August in the early portions of training camp.

Perceived as early as his sophomore season to be a coveted rising cornerback after he intercepted six passes, Boykin’s playing time declined in 2014 under Chip Kelly in Philadelphia, who ultimately made him available for trade, with the Steelers eventually biting to the tune of a conditional fifth-round pick just as the preseason was approaching.

Boykin’s brief tenure with the team has been among the more bizarre focal points of interest in recent years, with my personal favorite being the theory that the coaching staff limited his playing time in order to keep him below the 60-percent-snaps threshold that would raise the conditional fifth-round pick compensation to a fourth-round compensation.

Ignoring the fact that he did not even reach half of the requisite number of snaps, and the fact that Boykin himself has stated that he believes this to be the case, the more important discussion to be had is the notion of the way that the cornerback was ‘handled’ by the Steelers, with many individuals speaking as though the athlete was taken advantage of by Pittsburgh’s coaching staff.

Even Boykin yesterday alluded to his own personal belief that he was not treated “fairly”, and insinuated that “what happened in [Pittsburgh] surely didn’t help” his market value after even his best reported offer came in well below what many expected his services to command on the open market.

Brandon Boykin was in no way mistreated, taken advantage of, misled, manipulated, marginalized or abused during his time with the Steelers, regardless of what others, or even he, might think. Everybody, including Boykin, is entitled to their own opinions, but we are not entitled to our own reality, and we all share the same facts.

The fact is that Boykin was owed nothing in being traded for by the Steelers. Pittsburgh acquired him after learning that their rookie cornerback, Senquez Golson, would be unavailable to them. There was never any explicit suggestion that Boykin was acquired for anything other than providing much-needed depth.

Recall at the time, of course, that Ross Cockrell would not become available for several more weeks. The Steelers opened the regular season with William Gay, Antwon Blake, and Cortez Allen. Allen got injured in the opener. Had they not traded for Boykin, their next man up by that point would have been either rookie Doran Grant or B.W. Webb—perhaps Kevin Fogg.

After Allen’s injury, Boykin suffered a groin injury and missed much of the following week of practice, but he was still given two series—as an outside cornerback—the following week, playing 11 snaps in total. In that span of 11 snaps, he recorded one pass deflection, but he also slipped twice and allowed a touchdown.

He did not receive much playing time after that until after the Steelers’ bye week, following a cataclysmic secondary meltdown against the Seahawks in which they allowed five passing touchdowns that prompted the team to shake things up and begin mixing in Boykin.

Pittsburgh’s handling of Boykin requires no conspiracy theories to understand, regardless of whether or not one might disagree with the amount that the Steelers chose to use him until late in the season.

The notion that he was not given a fair chance to play suggests that he was entitled to playing time, when the simple fact is that he was not, and ignores the fact that Cockrell was equally entitled to an opportunity to play—a variable that was not yet even present when he was acquired.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Dorian James

    I love your work Matthew, but the reason for my foil hat theory is again, as bad as the injured Antwan Blake was playing, I can’t imagine Boykin playing any worse. Not only that, it seemed to me he went entire games without snaps. During that time. I don’t know snap counts like you do but, shouldn’t he have been put in for an injured player at least some of the time? Also, I believe if the coaches would have given a better explanation of why he didn’t see the field, we probably wouldn’t speculate about it so much.

  • Jones

    Great article. Can we stop talking about Boykin now?

  • walter mason

    I don’t think he is entitled to anything in Carolina either with a minimum contract probably for depth. He will have to earn his way and prove his worth to get a starting position.

  • Phil Rippke

    However you slice it, this organization is terrible at evaluating CB talent.

  • John Phillips

    Dead Horse Tomlin

  • JB Burgess

    No one wants to mention that. So how can they be trusted? The answer is they can’t.

  • francesco

    Boykin was 5 times better than Blake…end of story. Tomlin did not want to be proved wrong and so he stuck with Blake as long as possible. Move on.

  • RickM

    Only if this site stops trying to promote the topic. Boykin like every athlete alive is a competitor who hoped to play to help his team, and to show the rest of the league that he had value should he not be re-signed by the Steelers. That desire, and the atrocious play of Antwon Blake (confirmed countless times by SD), are the only “realities” that are known. But yes, his desire to play and help his team was scandalous. Good for him that he finally escaped this type of stuff.

  • hojo

    I wish I could like this article a 1000 times.

  • Jonathan Ferullo

    That may be true, but it doesn’t stop them from winning. As long as they start hitting on LBs and Safeties, I’m ok with Joe Average at CB.

  • JB Burgess

    And it played out exactly how he didnt want it to. At the expense of the team. I said it before, Boykin can be credited with saving the season. That’s how bad the secondary was playing.

  • JB Burgess

    Winning what? Fluke playoff games? The reality is they’ve “missed” on LBs/Safeties and CBs. High round players too.

  • Axe Skot

    Proved wrong about what?

  • kdubs412

    I encourage everyone to read my extended argument with Matthew over this in the LAST gigantic Boykin thread, which is still ongoing. Homie’s got some interesting ideas about what is and is not a baseless fan theory.

  • LL

    I can’t believe you are STILL talking about Boykin

  • William Weaver

    Maybe the coaches didn’t want to throw him under the bus? Couldn’t trust him to stay on his feet or be where he was supposed to be. Didn’t want to put that out there. All you tin foil hat guys need to remember that if Tomlin keeps better players on the sideline the team would see that and he would lose them. Listen to them and you realize that isn’t close to what is happening. They love and respect Tomlin.

  • steeltown

    How about 4 Division Championships, 3 Conference Championships and 2 Super Bowls in the last decade… despite a lack of recent playoff wins, spoiled we are sometimes me thinks

  • William Weaver

    It isn’t just Pittsburgh. Hardest position behind QB to evaluate. Some much more then physical goes in to playing at a high level. Many first rounders fail and that isn’t Pittsburgh.

  • William Weaver

    Right you are, Yoda

  • steeltown

    He wasnt owed anything, completely agree.

    Now, im more excited to speculate and see Cockrell and Golson compete and contribute.

  • steeltown

    Agreed. It’s why they pay sooo much across the League for stars at the position

  • francesco

    Blake was Tomlin’s pet project. Tomlin’s stubbornness showed up every week…and still would not acknowledge that Blake was costing this team. I bet if Tomlin apologized to Boykin at end of season Boykin might have stayed on with the Steelers. But Tomlin made sure he doesn’t come back.

  • vasteeler

    why is this even a topic of discussion anymore??? this “reporting” is starting to become downright disgusting. brandon has moved on and so should steelersnation, he wasnt a pro bowler but when he played he was definitely serviceable, his tenure in pittsburgh is over, time to focus on guys who are actually on the roster. come on steelers depot you’re better than that

  • Terrible Towel

    Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!

  • vasteeler

    tomlin told him personally during exit interview to test the market

  • Phil Brenneman II

    They keep reporting on it because it is still of interest to most fans. So they are doing exactly what they should be doing here at the Depot. Providing fans with topics they like to discuss.

  • vasteeler

    exactly!!!!!

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Boykin was owed nothing on that we agree. However, the TEAM was owed something and that was a better chance at winning which they weren’t given by leaving Boykin on the bench.

  • Michael James

    We’re spoiled, that’s true and I really appreciate how this organization is run. But still, it would be nice if we hit on a cornerback or safety, it’s been so long since we drafted a really good one.

  • vasteeler

    no this has more to do with “saving face” after those tweets that went out the other day, and fans of steelersnation are no longer interested in beating this dead horse just read the comments sheesh

  • Dubb Betts

    I don’t care how bad Boykin was in practice. To me the whole situation wasn’t about Boykin playing, I just wanted Blake off the field. There’s no excuse for how bad Blake was. People keep saying Blake was playing hurt but he was horrible from week 1.

  • Terrible Towel

    VOTE UP!

  • I’ve been campaigning the same thing for a few years now too. Multiple misses all over the league in all rounds every year at the corner position. People have to realize that.

  • vasteeler

    no one is suggesting that the players dont love tomlin, but if you believe that tomlin doesnt have his favorite players just as every coach does then you’re a fool, if you think tomlin is above making personnel mistakes- then you’re a fool, if you think tomlin doesnt deserve his fair share of criticism- then guess what- yeh thats right you’d be a fool

  • Jonathan Ferullo

    Essentially this.

    Some people are never happy with what they have seen. I’m not the biggest Tomlin fan, but the man’s worst seasons were 8-8 records. Some teams look at 8-8 as something to aspire too.

    The Steelers can’t win the Superbowl every year people. It took Tom Brady 15 years to win 4, and no other team in that division has been worth squat (Jets maybe for 2 years) during that time. That 15 years has to be one of the best stretches ANY franchise has seen in football hands down.

    The Steelers play in a division that also boasts another SB champ, and the Bungholes are at least mildly competitive.

    I do agree the LB drafting is somewhat lacking, and the CB talent pans out less, but if you can’t look at last year and see success and a future worth looking at, you will never be happy. Expecting a HR on every draft pick and a SB appearance every year or the team is crap, is ridiculous.

  • PittsburghSports

    I don’t think you can just rule out the theory that he was held back because of that 4th rd draft pick escalator by solely looking at the snap counts and saying, “well, he’s way under that required number, so that’s clearly not the case”. I’m not saying I believe that theory for one second, because I don’t, but if you’re entertaining that train of thought in the first place, I don’t see why you’d look for logical reasoning. If you’re being deceptive, you’re not going to make it obvious lol. You can just as easily laugh it off as a conspiracy theory, as you can laugh off people’s naiveness to conspiracy.

    I don’t think it’s really out of this world to consider that he might not have been given a fair chance, and that Tomlin or someone else was playing favorites. It happens ALL THE TIME, in football and everywhere else in life. Nothing about life is ever fair. Just like your article is not really a fair depiction of events, and really just more of a one-sided argument. You give reasons as to why Boykin wasn’t on the field, which all make sense, but you leave out any reason why Blake was on it, and that is half the story. Blake was the star of Ledyard’s Missed Tackle Breakdown. He led PFF’s ratings as the worst CB in the league. He was obviously injured all year, and just about everyone covering the Steelers was pleading to have him benched because of that injury. Then there’s the constant excuses Tomlin would give for Blake, and pretending like he wasn’t injured, while Tomlin and others in the organization would make digs at Boykin, saying he could only play Slot, he couldn’t tackle well, or he wasn’t picking things up fast enough, meanwhile Blake’s season is going down in infamy, and not a single negative comment lol.

    I also don’t mind that he wasn’t given a fair chance. I believe in Tomlin more than I do Boykin. Who knows, maybe everyone thinks Boykin is an ass like Dave was suggesting, and that’s why he wasn’t playing. I was never a hater of Blake either, and I always thought there wasn’t a huge difference between him and Cockrell, but clearly the best combination on the field for us was Boykin in the slot and Gay on the outside.

  • Michael James

    Btw it really starts to annoy me. Why do you still put out these articles? Boykin went on, said nothing bad about the Steelers and that should do it.
    He was owed nothing, that’s right. But it has never been about Boykin being an All Pro CB that had to play, it was about our other CBs (especially Blake) being absolutely horrible most of the time and he still didn’t get a chance. Our secondary improved once he saw more snaps (you can even look up the statistics if you don’t trust me), so it’s very hard to come up with a good reason why he didn’t play earlier, that’s all.

  • vasteeler

    exactly, thank you!

  • Jonathan Ferullo

    I would agree. The hope of drafting Rod Woodson, Mean Joe Green, Lambert, etc, again is what makes this all fun, but the reality is like you said: It’s a well ran franchise that we need to appreciate that they at least give us that chance of winning each year.

  • Jones

    Sure he’s a competitor like everyone else. But you know what he’s not? A Steeler.

  • Jonathan Ferullo

    This should be under Micheal James’ comment.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Well, it must not be too bad if everyone is clicking on the article just to throw in their 2 cents. Any topic I see that I don’t care about I just pass right over. Seems weird to waste your time coming in to read it and add a comment.

  • Jones

    Give it a rest dude. To read your comment history, Boykin is basically Jesus himself and the Steelers are all incompetent fools that have only won by luck of the draw. Aren’t you about ready to mosey on over to Panthers Depot so you can follow your boy?

  • RickM

    Lucky for him given this kind of stuff. He comes in and contributes and helps us get to the playoffs and everyone says thank goodness. But then he dares to leave because the Steelers aren’t really interested in him and he’s a jerk. Sour grapes 101.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Since we are stating the obvious, can I say either is Blake?

  • Jones

    Do you see two articles and over 1,000 comments per day about Blake, though? Didn’t think so…

  • Jones

    You’re right. The Coaches and FO are all incompetent fools and us fans always know better. Ben, AB, Decastro and all of our other pro bowl talent should escape while they can before the Steelers drive their value into the dirt as well.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Nope, but just like Boykin, the player that is also in the discussion and played instead of and despite of…isn’t a Steeler now either.

    It’s interesting to me because despite the reluctance to take him out and now a team in need of DB’s anyway and their best one is going to turn 31……..they are both gone.

    Maybe Golsen, Cortez, Grant and Cockrell ball out…but its still an interesting thought nonetheless.

  • Donte Williams

    steelers nation please i repeat please go back and listen to tunch and wolfs podcast about what they seen from boykin during practice for 1 this man was not grasping the defense early on secondly he was slipping sliding and getting his as handed to him during practice who on this site would put him in the game after he was not producing during practice. yes blake was missing tackles after he broke his hand and yes he gave up TDs but was that due to him being in man coverage or was that due to the safety not being over top in cover 2? either way they both no longer with the steelers and move forward

  • steeltown

    Agreed

  • Donte Williams

    what they missed on who? shazier still young not even at his rookie contract, timmons who is a dog, farrior dog, porter dog, foote dog, haggans dog, kirkland, llyod should i continue? troy HOF, mitchell played good after not so much and due to him being injured after the season it was founded, clark dog, allen plays good for a slow vet, CB position yes they have missed on many but like colbert said 2 years ago their focus on the defense is getting pressure by the front 7 not some lock down CB reason they stocked their front seven this year i can see them stocking that back end

  • Donte Williams

    please name one CB the should have taken in the 1st round over heyward, jones, decastro, bud, ben, TP, hampton, ziggy, poouncey, timmons, shazier. and before any of yinz answer please look at who they already had at the CB position when these players were taken.

  • Yiz

    Boykin saved what season and how? If what you said were true, he would’ve signed way earlier with a team & for much more.l You must be a family member of Boykin’s. There’s no need to go back forth with Boykin’s value in this league because it was just proven this offseason with the veteran min he received. If the Steelers were so bad in evaluating his worth, why was Blake more sought after (and received a higher offer) from other teams? You’ve truly overestimated his value. Remember playing time is earned in practice. Based on the reports from journalist (Kaboly, Dulac) and former players (Tunch & Wolf) who were actually at practices, Boykin didn’t earn that right for most of the season.

  • Donte Williams

    and name one coach you would replace tomlin with? yall talking like this man is a bum or hasnt brought a ship to the burgh give it a rest CB has a been a down fall for the steelers wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy before tomlin even cowher didnt hit on CB position but no one wants to talk about him? steelers hasnt had a lock down since Woodson as good as Ike was he used to get his as handed to him as well lets see what they do this year when there is a chance that a top tier CB is sitting in their lap at 25

  • Donte Williams

    clap clap clap thank you Yiz good gracious these fans talking about boykin was the man must didnt listen to those podcast where he was looking like shyt in practice

  • Milliken Steeler

    When Boykin came in late in the season, the secondary played better. That is a fact not a myth.

    You’re talking about practice, practice. Not a game, not a game. Signed Allen Iverson.

  • Yiz

    Thanks for the thorough article Matthew, you nailed it. Everyone wants an explanation and think they’re better evaluators than the Steeler coaching staff. However a number of journalist (Kaboly and Dulac) and former players (Tunch & Wolf) who attended practices had noted that Boykin hadn’t earned the right to see the field (whether it was not fully grasping the defense or not staying on his feet). It’s funny how fanatical we can be as fans sometimes because we think we know so much more than the coaches. Nevertheless, there were no other teams swarming after Boykin and the value of his current contract is proof of his value to the rest of the league. We’re talking about a league that easily over pays for talent constantly, yet at a position of dire need around the league, this fan proclaimed all-star gets a veteran min for a year and isn’t guaranteed a starting position.

  • Terrible Towel

    Well said.

  • Yiz

    Football is not basketball, teams can play a basketball game without practice in between. That’s not the case in football.

  • Donte Williams

    well said just like folks were calling for Gays head his first tenure with the steelers then he left and came back now he is praised

  • Jones

    What? Listen to reputable eyewitnesses with years of football experience as players and analysts? Never! That would sink my whole fan-made soap opera drama theory between Boykin and Tomlin and no self respecting fan would stand for that!

  • James Rogers

    Say what? Boykin did rather well, once they let him play, so they either treated him badly or they aren’t good judges of DB talent, IMO.

  • Yiz

    I agree, they making it seem like we let the next coming of Rod Woodson go.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Yet……..the team with a top three defensive team and was in the Superbowl signed him. Coach Rivera is clueless, just like ” those fans” IT doesn’t matter what he signed him for either…….he signed him.

    I can flip every rebuttal you guys have all day long. I don;t even car that he is gone however, I know what I saw on the field between him and Blake.Blake is gone now also, think about that.

  • steeltown

    I’m not playing that game, the statement was made wishing we had hit on a CB or Safety in recent drafts, in any Rd would be nice.

    Golson and Grant still pending

  • Donte Williams

    lets see what boykin does this year if he thinks he starting not happening they have their starting CBs

  • Yiz

    You ever heard of special teams? I don’t care how you flip rebuttals because the proof has been revealed. No other team values this dude the way you do. He was signed as depth, if he can win a starting job, then good for him. Blake is gone, and like I said before was in higher demand than Boykin. You evaluation of Boykin is irrelevant, no other teams valued him like you do.

  • Ok, he’s gone and I am done talking about Boinkins. but, he was not used enough! Ok, I’m done, now…

  • vasteeler

    as far as this so called “article” or any other real article is concerned, i dont know any real steelers fans that dont try to read/see relevant steelers info, furthermore, i dont base judgement on the title, therefore one must read to comprehend then analyze the basis for this particular writing. inconclusion one can then summarize this particular work as trash. boykins has moved on- end of story

  • Blake was horrid from the get go and just got worse….
    Maybe Boinkins called out Lake for the fraud he is…

  • Donte Williams

    and look at where we were drafting and look at what CB you have taken trust me i think the steelers had their eyes on Fuller and Peters the past two draft unfortunately they were taken right before us after them two who would you have taken where were were sitting? that is my argument fans acting like the steelers had top 10 picks and were choosing to address other areas instead of CB

  • Excuse me, I love Steeler nation but Gay sucks, Blake was horrid, Allen sucks, Grant was/is far from ready, Senquez yikes, I hope he can play…
    Also, are Safety situation looks grim….

  • Milliken Steeler

    That has no bearing on how Boykin played when reinstalled in the secondary late in the season. He played better than Blake and thats the bottom line.

    We have eyes and I have record and have watched Boykin enough to see that between two, Boykin was the play maker. If you extrapolate his stats in the limited playing time he did have, they are also better.

    No one is saying Boykin is all pro or all anything. A lot of us simply agree, he was better than Blake.

  • RickM

    Yes and with one of the best QB’s in the game — who was drafted well before this current regime – we have not even reached an AFC championship since 2010. So much for all the brilliant talent that you are saluting. Take off your rose-colored glasses and recognize Blake and Boykin for what they were. Forget it, that’s impossible for fans who aren’t interested in what happened on the on the field. That’s my last comment to you as I’d rather chat with people who at least acknowledge what happened on the field.

  • Don

    Excellent point. Which team has the better track record on DB evaluations in recent years? I would go on, but this topic is dead to me. I refuse to get sucked into another referendum on the performance of Antwon Blake.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Like I do? The bottom line is, Boykin plays for the NFC representative in the Superbowl now. His Coach obviously saw something and he is not there to specialize in special teams. At the minimum, he is playing the slot.

    Blake was signed by our former coach to play in a system he is familiar with. That is why he went there. Nothing more nothing less. He’ll get torched just like he did here.

    The stats don’t support your rose colored glasses statement. Rated next to last at CB. That would be the now Titan Blake. How come we didn’t keep him? How come we actually wanted to have Boykin back?

    Don’t let these pesky things called facts get in the way during this discussion

  • Milliken Steeler

    They want him to compete at slot. That is why he went there and that is what Coach Rivera told him.

  • steeltown

    Not my argument ever, but I do agree with the fan frustration over missing on almost every DB draft selection the last few yrs, regardless of Rd

  • Dorian James

    I agree with you there.

  • Dorian James

    I would include the front office and staff. A couple of years here and there is one thing but to not have a pro bowl type of CB since Rod Woodson is a problem. That’s just way too long between star CBs

  • Dorian James

    All that aside, this team just doesn’t value great corner play. Or they would Invest in one.

  • Yiz

    Lmao, your the only person with rose colored glasses. You must be mad cause you bought a Steelers Boykin jersey. Fact=Steelers never made Boykin an offer. Fact=Blake visited and had interest from more than one team. Fact=Blake signed for almost more than double than Boykin. Not a fact= Boykin is guaranteed a starting slot position, unless your apart of the Carolina coaching staff. Fact=NFL teams don’t care about your precious stats, if they did Boykin’s contract & demand would’ve reflected that. Your pesky facts are only relevant to you. Time for you to put down your Boykin pom poms and let it go dude. Money talks and BS runs a marathon, just look at their deals. Here’s one better, LeBeau is a former CB, HC & DC yet he didn’t even invite Boykin in for a visit but signed Blake. If you and your pesky stats were so right and done so wrong by the Steelers then why didn’t LeBeau sign Boykin? He watches waaayyyy more tape than you and knows the position way better than you or I and unlike Carolina, he needs CB talent much worse, yet he didn’t even bring the dude in for a visit. You stating that Boykin has been brought in to start at the slot is pure opinion and hope, no facts (the contract value proves it)….just in case you don’t realize you’ve just been check mated.

  • kdubs412

    This is such a straw man argument. I am not saying Boykin was “entitled” to anything, and I don’t think most of us who are dissatisfied with how the Boykin saga played out are. I think there was a failure in evaluation by our coaches, who chose to play a clearly inferior, at times injured player over him, when all of the evidence suggested the team would be better served by making a personnel switch. The one sequence you keep referring to, in garbage time during a blowout vs San Francisco, Boykin got pushed by Boldin on the TD he allowed. Blake had a handful of plays far more aggregious in the opener and would go on to have one of the worst seasons a starting corner has ever put on tape. The inability or refusal of the coaching staff to recognize he was a huge liability and needed to be replaced is the problem, not Boykin thinking the team owed him something.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Donte –

    I’ll give you the CB picks I was pleading for (BEFORE the draft) since 2009 since that’s when Colbert started having trouble. Before that he was literally the best in the NFL at finding round 1 gems:

    2009 – I wanted Jarius Byrd (even though he’s a FS I think he could’ve lined up at CB on certain sub package plays) over Hood in a heartbeat.

    2010 – I wanted Devin McCourty (who can play CB or FS interchangeably). I love Pouncey, I can’t argue with his talent. I just prefer to draft centers in rounds 2-3 for value purposes.

    2011 – I wanted Ras-I Dowling CB over Heyward. I’m glad Colbert didn’t listen to me on that one.

    2012 – DeCastro was the correct pick. Still can’t believe he fell that far.

    2013 – I wanted either Tyler Eifert or Xavier Rhodes CB. I threw my football at the wall when Colbert picked Jarvis. Rhodes has not reached his potential but he is STILL light years ahead of Jarvis from a production standpoint.

    2014 – I wanted Darqueze Dennard CB over Ryan Shazier. I thought Shazier was too small to play ILB in our scheme and so far I’ve been correct. Meanwhile Dennard has been stuck behind a couple of really good CB’s in CIN but this should be his breakout year. I hope it’s not (for the Steelers sake) but we’ll see.

    2015 – I wanted Byron Jones CB/FS over Dupree. I can see why they picked Dupree, he has great potential, but I think he is still very raw, and I’m worried about his instincts. Meanwhile Jones played very well for Dallas even though he has no support from his co-defenders. This one is a toss up.

    Anyhow… you asked for one CB… At the time of the 2013 draft I though Xavier Rhodes was a clear choice over Jarvis and I still think so today.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Wow, What happened to the paragraphs, so I can at least seperate the this fan boy drivel.

    You are what they call a fan boy and whether you deem that harsh or not, that’s what it amounts to. If it doesn’t pass the eye test or the smell test it doesn’t fly with me.

    I have stated facts and your retort is ” well the Steelers know way more than” The experts know way more than” This is comical. If you don’t have the confidence or knowledge to present a case based on your own findings, you’re a follower or a fan boy. I agree with a lot of things the Steelers do however, this is a no brainer and if you look around at the articles, people are passionate because they didn’t understand how things played out…Period.

    What part of ranking almost dead last ( he was dead last for most of the season) do you not understand? That means one person stunk a hair bit more than he did. What part of the missed tackles and yardage allowed didn’t you understand. What film were you not watching of players streaking past him down the field?

    You seem to want to present someone on a radio show or dropping names as your proof of what most people saw on the field. Blake was nicknamed toast for a reason. Your retort to any of this is name dropping. Really? As if that somehow makes up for his horrible play on the field?

    Do I need to show you all of the players Lebeau signed that are Steeler free Agents? The Titan Defense was horrific and Coach is signing people who know the system. Is that a concept you’re aware of?

    Why didn’t Lebeau sign Boykin? Who has more experience playing in this type of system Boykin or Blake? Money makes no difference as Boykin has even stated, he has taken less money to play for Carolina. The Titan defense was horrible and you think Blake is called upon to solidify the back end? lmao Please don’t bet on football, as its definitely not your forte.

    Ryan Leaf, Jamarcus Russell and some others were declared can’t miss prospects by your idols. What happened there with those experts?

    If I listened to people like you, I would have swung and missed on a lot of things. but hey, lets ask Geno Smith what he thinks. To funny.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It’s true that Boykin didn’t see the field pretty much at all for a large portion of the middle part of the season. But the most reasonable explanation is simply that the coaching staff was content with the way the three cornerbacks they fielded were doing overall. It’s worth pointing out that Antwon Blake’s best stretch of play came in the middle of the season. You can bet his big interception return against the Chargers, and then the end zone interception against the Bengals, bought him some extra time before the Seattle game forced the coaches’ hand.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yes, we can, or at least I will. This is just one topic that I wanted to address before moving on. It was actually supposed to run yesterday but we bumped it to today so as not to conflict with the Boykin interview that we posted.

  • Matthew Marczi

    So are you going to be rooting for the Panthers next year? You seem to think ‘doing right’ by Boykin is more important than the Steelers coaching staff being able to play the players they’re most comfortable playing at a given time.

  • Matthew Marczi

    That is a fair comment. The track record is there to support it.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Really? We’ve written several articles about it.

  • Jonathan Ferullo

    I will agree here. I am also in the boat of wanting that Rod Woodson again, I just feel some folks are asking for too much at times.

    Your 2013 comments are pretty spot on. Jones was considered a gift at 17 that year, and yet has come up short. I just don’t get it. It seems though that the second round is where Pittsburgh wins though.

  • Matthew Marczi

    There are many variables behind the allocation of playing time. It’s not impossible that was one of the many.

  • Matthew Marczi

    The article was scheduled to run yesterday, but was bumped to today in order to prevent conflicting with the Boykin interviewing we ended up putting up.

  • Yiz

    Fan boy sir, is what you are. I could care less for Blake/Boykin. Stats are not the end all be all but good for you for memorizing them.
    I’m more interested in who we have and get than who we let go.
    You keep missing the most basic FACT of all, 30 other professional NFL teams (not named the Steelers) didn’t care to pick Boykin up for dirt cheap & they’ve all watched more tape than you and more research than you, yet no one was knocking down Boykin’s door.
    I don’t care how much game tape you watch or how many stats you memorize, you don’t know half as much as these paid professionals.
    Time to just let it go or better yet become a Carolina fan for the year so you can cheer for your boy.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It was a topic of discussion because it was a topic of discussion in the comments of every article I’ve seen on the topic, and within some of the articles I’ve seen written by others as well. It’s a topic that I wanted to address because of the way that the dialogue surrounding the situation has been carried out. It shouldn’t take you too long to find somebody claiming that Boykin was mistreaded if you looked for it. Even Boykin alluded to finding a place he could play ‘fairly’, as though he were owed playing time here. That is why I chose to make it a topic. And for the record, the article was going to run yesterday but we bumped it to today because we ran the Boykin interview that day.

  • Matthew Marczi

    That is a fair perspective.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Blake was hurt the entire season. He had ligament damage in his hand.

  • Matthew Marczi

    How Boykin played after Week 12 in games has no bearing on how he practiced during the season before that.

  • Matthew Marczi

    The point is that nobody is guaranteed or entitled to playing time, so the notion that he was treated ‘unfairly’ because he didn’t play more is bunk.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I can provide you with a gif of the Boldin touchdown. The contact isn’t why he slipped. And there’s contact like that all the time. If you don’t get the call, you have to play through it. He let Boldin run into his chest and completely gave up the outside of the field. Boldin, the veteran, took advantage of what he was given.

    The “straw man” argument is merely that it’s nonsensical to talk about fairness when it comes to playing time because playing time is not a guarantee. If you don’t play, you don’t play, and it’s not because it’s not “fair”. Fairness is simply not a factor into the equation.

    For the record, this article was written on Tuesday, and was supposed to run yesterday morning. It was bumped to run today because we had the Boykin interview run yesterday.

  • PaeperCup

    I think that’s a solid point Matt, Boykin was brought in to replace Golson, Golson was going to be there his rookie year primarily as depth.

  • kdubs412

    So he made one bad play and saw zero defensive snaps for weeks. Blake had a plethora of bad plays every week and didn’t get any less play time. The “his play didn’t earn him more playing time” argument holds no water when the alternative is as bad as Blake. There is no way boykin could have been worse.

    Again, i don’t know who was arguing Boykin was entitled, and I don’t think it was really necessary to write an article debunking it. It’s certainly not close to the most prevalent argument as to how the Boykin situation was mangled. Just once I’d like an article on here that critiques the organization/coaches for how they handled it instead of piling on Boykin.

  • ace cotton

    This to me was not needed….o guess this is some of the foolishness you hear this time of year

  • Matthew Marczi

    Here’s a suggestion: scroll down (or up) to the bottom of the article and click on the Brandon Boykin tag and see all the articles written on the subject, many by myself, in-season. We’ve already covered it exhaustively. The reason that I wrote this article is because it was a prevailing narrative I’ve seen that I wanted to address. It’s as simple as that. Maybe you haven’t seen it as much as I have.

  • RickM

    And you seem to have changed your tune. During the season you talked about how bad Blake was and you openly wondered why Boykin wasn’t playing. Why the 180 degree change? Why the revised history all of a sudden? Give me an answer that makes sense and I’ll maybe understand.

  • vasteeler

    I totally agree

  • Matthew Marczi

    I never swayed my personal desire to have seen him play more. That doesn’t mean the coaches agreed with me, or that he was done wrong.

  • vasteeler

    This is just beating a dead horse, this provided no new information whatsoever and of course there will be comments on anything this site so chooses to post. And it continues to paint boykin in a negative light when no one affiliated with steelers depot knows him personally, only fueling speculation. May Brandon boykin’s #25 steelers jersey rest in peace…. Finally please

  • WIINGY

    Care to explain Blake’s long leash? It seems Allen was benched pretty quickly. Blake was torched for weeks and it wasn’t until the playoffs were on the line that they put Boykin in.

  • WIINGY

    That’s the problem. Kaboly and everyone in Pittsburgh tow the company line. Have for years. It’s amazing the bloggers here don’t know that. Tomlin would get eatin alive in New York.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Did you read one paragraph? Obviously not. I am not a fan ob Boykins nor am I claiming he is an all pro or all anything. What he is, is better than Boykin.

    You seem to miss the fact that not only were the Steelers interested in having him back, there were a couple of other teams involved also.

    He took less money and plays for the reigning nfc champs now. Lebeau signed another ex Steeler and that is the only place that guy could have landed.

    The bottom line is, the secondary was better when Boykin played. Those are the facts. It has nothing to do with me liking Boykin ( are you really that dense)

    I know what I see and I dont need other people to verify my thoughts.

    With your reasoning I should call Buster Brown up for his opinion before I buy a pair of shoes. smh

  • RickM

    I guess I’m just surprised that some are troubled that Boykin would say what he did. It’s not all that significant and probably any player in his position would say the same thing. Who cares.

    What troubles me is the revisionist history being written – and it is revisionist – that he didn’t deserve any any additional playing time. That is bunk given the very poor play from Blake for an extended period.

  • Matthew Marczi

    This was only partly about Boykin. This was mainly circling around how Boykin’s tenure with the team has been discussed, as though there was some injustice done to him. I don’t foresee any further discussion of Boykin on this site unless the Steelers are playing him or he has something else to say about his experience here.

  • Milliken Steeler

    That’s all I’m saying too Rick. lol Then you have these guys ” well mean Joe Greene said” Its hysterical. No valid retorts to his missed tackles, yards given up and overall poor play.

    The response has been. Well EF Hutton says….This is great. Please put up another article on Boykin Matt, so I can read more of these ” tell me what saw” replies. lol

  • Milliken Steeler

    Apples to Oranges. I’m not involved in the Gay bashing. I’m sorry that theory doesn’t check out though.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Here we go. Cowher gets brought into the conversation now. No one is slamming Tomlin. A fact was stated. Between TWO people, Boykins was bettre than the other. The defense played better when he was inserted later in the year. That’s all that was being stated. Now Cowher enters the convo huh? I wonder why?

  • William Weaver

    Your right with how they value corner play but it seems to work. 6 Super Bowl victories. Some of the best defenses in league history. Not just talking the 70’s either. Was it 2008 where the team held every opponent to 300 total yards or less? Remarkable defense. As for your point that they don’t value it, where would you rank corner on the value chart with all other positions? I would probably have it last myself outside of ST’s.. Have to be able to run and stop the run. So both lines are vital. Then QB, the 4 backers, then weapons for QB, then safety play, then corners last. It has worked. Barring an injury to AB, we are in the AFC championship. We didn’t lose that game because of poor corner play.

  • RickM

    Well if the intent was to stir up comments and disagreements, mission accomplished. I don’t think I’ve ever said Boykin was taken advantage of, or that he was entitled to more snaps. I’ve said that Blake’s play and Boykin’s past play warranted a change as was written on this site many, many times by both columnists and fans.

    I don’t resent the fact that the Steelers didn’t re-sign him, and I don’t resent him for saying he should have gotten more snaps. If that’s the biggest criticism after what happened on the field, I think it’s too his credit. But, others feel he should never have said such a thing. Not sure why his statement is a big deal. Regardless, it’s beyond time to move away from this topic lol.

  • Milliken Steeler

    What counts is the play on the field Matt. During a game. You can’t deny that the defense played better when Boykin was inserted into the lineup.

    It’s a tough pill to swallow Matt, but that is the fact but…lets talk about how he slipped in practice…how did the defense play toward the end of the year in the secondary when a certain someone was inserted? You can’t argue with results.

    I can see those and I saw those results and unlike some of the fan boys, I don’t need a radio personality to tell me what I saw.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Allen was injured, he wasn’t benched. Well, he was demoted from the starting lineup to the nickel between the end of the preseason and the start of the regular season. I suspect that may have been partially tied to his knee issue, however, in an effort to put a bit less wear in it, but that clearly didn’t do him any good.

    Regarding Blake’s long leash, I can offer what I believe to be the most plausible possibility, but not an explanation, since I don’t know the answer, but I have made an effort to explain it before.

    Boykin was signed to replace Golson, who didn’t really have a role. It’s not clear that he would have been one of the team’s top three cornerbacks in 2015 had he gotten injured. But Boykin came in in August in order to provide slot cornerback depth, where they were already intending to play William Gay, so that didn’t make it easy for him to get on the field.

    The slot position, particularly in a defense such as Pittsburgh’s that incorporates a variety of zone coverages and exotic looks, requires a player with keen understanding of how everything works, and nobody has a better understanding of the defense than Gay, so it’s no surprise they weren’t in a rush to boot him from there and keep him outside, especially when he is better in the slot.

    When Allen went down in the season opener, Boykin was simultaneously dealing with a groin injury that caused him to miss a lot of practice time between games 1 and 2. What this did was open the door for Ross Cockrell to crack into the lineup. He did so and never looked back.

    It is worth noting that the Steelers played Boykin in the second game, giving him two series as an outside cornerback in place of Blake, with Cockrell on the opposite side and Gay in the slot. In these 11 snaps, he deflected a pass, slipped twice, and allowed a touchdown.

    Perhaps it was this showing, in conjunction with his reported struggles to keep his feet in practices from both beat writers and team-affiliated commentators (Tunch and Wolf), that kept him off the field for a while.

    As for Blake, the team obviously liked his understanding of the defense (after all, other than Gay, he was the only healthy cornerback with more than an offseason’s worth of understanding of the system), and that surely bought him a lot of patience.

    Blake was a solid tackler in 2014, but that was almost totally ruined in 2015, and I would be lying if I totally understood why the coaching staff undersold his liability as a tackler.

    It’s true that he gave up tons of yardage, but for the most part, he played in the system and did what the coaches asked him to do. He had a lot of downs, to be sure, but people want to forget the ups too. It’s not like every snap of his season was bad.

    I can only comment so far because I didn’t see how Boykin looked in practice, but I was with everyone else in advocating for giving him more opportunities, and forgiving Blake fewer opportunities, even throughout the entire season. By the time Boykin got into the lineup, I even wrote an article that the Steelers should consider leaving Cockrell on the outside and leave Blake on the bench for the most part.

    To try to summarize your main question though, why Blake was relied upon so much, if I had to speculate, it would be primarily due to the fact that he was one of only two ‘healthy’ CBs on the roster with intimate understanding of the defense. The fact that they gave Boykin a few reps on the outside with unimpressive results (albeit a small sample size) and the reports of his struggles early on in practice also likely play a role in that. But the Steelers clearly valued having Gay in the slot for his intelligence and experience, at least for earlier on in the season. After the terrible Seattle game, their hand was forced to try to change things up, which they were reluctant to do simply because they felt what they had was ‘good enough’ to get by before then. Sorry for the long-winded response, but I hope that helps.

  • Matthew Marczi

    If a player was struggling in practice at the beginning of the season, why would a team rush him onto the field? Please answer this question for me before we continue.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Agreed. I’m just enjoying the repeated articles as I think this is the fifth recent Boykin party? It’s been fun though:)

  • Milliken Steeler

    Are you kidding me? Now we are holding a response to be approved when it is an opinion and nothing out of line?

    Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Steelers Depot.

  • Matthew Marczi

    The filter is automatic, for the record, and has nothing to do with any of us. I just checked the pending queue and I assume it was filtered because you ended a sentence with “us.” and left out a space that followed by “lol”, making it read as “us.lol”, and it registered this as a hyperlink, all of which are filtered.

  • Matthew Marczi

    The issue is that you’re using evidence From Weeks 13 and beyond to speculate about how Boykin would have looked in Week 1, and there are two problems with this speculation. For one thing, there is no way to know if he would have looked the same in Week 1 as he did in Week 14, for example, given the reports of his early struggles in practice. It’s entirely reasonable to believe that he improved within the system as the season advanced and he had more experience with it. The more fundamental problem is the fact that the coaching staff did not have his Week 13 and beyond tape as evidence available to them in Week 1 to know that that is how he would be capable of looking for them.

  • Milliken Steeler

    No I am not. lol That is your take on this and I didn’t even use the Rooney clip where he actually said, we need to do something about this after the 5TD’s to Seattle and Vioila! There is Boykin the next week. I don’t even have my info at the ready however, Mr Rooney did express his concern on change needing to be made. He is usually quiet, so why did he speak up this time?

    Getting back to what I’m saying. When Boykin was inserted later in the year, the secondary played better.

    Myself nor you know, what would have happened if he played continuously earlier in the year as he apparently slipped in practice a few times… and that pretty much set how most of his year was going to go.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Huh. I didn’t realize that. The comment has been deleted as it eventually came through.

  • francesco

    If my six year old nephew can see how bad Blake was and questioned why Tomlin does not replace him? What does that tell you?! It was so obvious that according to Tomlin…Blake could do no wrong!

  • Matthew Marczi

    You’re going to have to refresh my memory on this mid-season Rooney clip, because I don’t recall one, and I’m searching for one and not turning up anything.

  • Dorian James

    It’s a passing league, and the two super bowl teams had at least 3 pro bowl corners between them

  • Dorian James

    True, I hadn’t considered the pics. But to not even get a handful of snaps? It just seems odd.

  • walter mason

    Maybe he is uncoachable?

  • francesco

    Blake won’t even make the Titan’s team!

  • Chazsteelerfan

    Seriously – why are we still talking about this guy? I know it is the offseason, but 30 articles about a player who played a handful of games and now signed elsewhere? He left, so who cares? Let’s move on, he did.

    As you were – not trying to be cranky.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Another major part of it is that the Steelers really liked Gay in the slot, so it wasn’t so much Boykin vs Blake, it was also Boykin vs Gay in the slot. Injecting Boykin into the lineup caused not one but two position shifts in the nickel defense. Instead of Blake at RCB, Gay at NCB, and Cockrell at LCB, it became Gay at RCB, Boykin at NCB, and Cocrell/Blake in a rotation at LCB. The team likes to have as few moving parts as necessary.

  • kdubs412

    OK, that’s reasonable. I’d be interested in reading your response to Pittsburgh Sports’ comment in this thread, which does a much more eloquent job than I can of pointing out issues with this article’s thesis/your viewpoints about the Boykin situation.

  • RickM

    Well hopefully the party is over. I do find it disingenuous when people say he deserves more playing time/snaps during the regular season. And then when he says pretty much the same thing (‘I deserved more playing time’), his comments are somehow selfish and inappropriate. But I guess opinions change when he himself expresses the sentiment.

    That’s my last post on the guy, guaranteed. I’m way more interested on how Golson does this upcoming season, and what secondary guys we may go after the the draft.

  • mike

    I’m not disagreeing with u just a thought as I’m sure the writers on this site are just as sick and tired of writing about him but a blog site is all about traffic and conversation and if u look at the comments on boykins articles they’re in the hundreds which dwarf most of the other articles…he’s obviously very polarizing and it’s reasonable and smart from a business standpoint for daves sake to keep pumping em out till everyone feels like u and just starts ignoring the posts…I hear ya tho

  • Bill

    Normally, I like the articles by this writer and they help me understand the game better. This article however is fraught with nonsense! Why would the writer know better than Boykin whether or not he was treated fairly or not? Perhaps Boykin knew he was better in practice than others but given no opportunity to play on game day. I’ll tell one group that was treated unfairly in this situation and that the fans. The secondary was abysmal for the majority of the season and we don’t try to integrate a CB for whom we gave up a draft pick, into the line up? We see a CB who only asset is tackling, not able to do so because of injury, still the lineup? Oh, the reason: Ross Cockrell, apparently the second coming of Darrelle Revis, is now on the roster, therefore Boykin goes into the recycle bin. What I do know is others thought Boykin was a decent corner, we gave up a draft pick to get him and our corner-back play was generally awful. It seems he should have been on the field earlier and more often.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I have addressed the “theory” a number of times, including in the comment that I featured to this article, way back on October 31. The idea is simply too far-fetched to be more believable than not, no matter how stupid one might think the front office is. The only way any part of the theory can possibly add up is if we simply assume that the front office and the coaching staff conspired to be really really really really really stupid. If you really want me to elaborate even more, I will.

    My objection is to the notion of “fairness”, because I simply think it doesn’t apply. What wasn’t fair? Did he not get paid? He is a professional football player and he did his job. His employer is not obligated to put him on the field. That was my motivation for writing this article (which I wrote on Tuesday, I would add).

    I responded to somebody else in the comments with a really long post about Blake, so please search for that. The long and short of it is that Blake was one of only two cornerbacks on the team who knew the system, they really heavily valued Gay’s presence in the slot, they probably assumed that Blake’s tackling issues would work themselves out (which they admittedly didn’t, considering you don’t just get over a ligament injury in your hand), the coaching staff was hesitant to move too many pieces around (moving Gay out of the slot and putting Boykin there in the nickel would require moving not one but two players), and, finally, they obviously thought for most of the season that what they had was ‘good enough’ until they got bulldozed in Seattle. I said that’s the short version, but even that went long…

    I think that some people (and I’m just talking out loud here, not to you specifically) are assuming that I’m offering my position or defending the team’s position in how they went about things. What I intended to do (more so in my replies to people’s comments) is explain what I assume to be the team’s rationale and how it made sense to them. If I went on record now and said I agreed with how the team handled Boykin, I would be a hypocrite with the paper trail to prove it, since I wrote time and again during the season about my belief he should be on the field. All one would have to do is click on the Brandon Boykin tag and keep scrolling. A lot of those articles written in-season wondering why he’s not playing have my name attached to it.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think you missed the point of the article if you believe “fairness” is part of the equation. He is a paid athlete, and he was paid. That is as far as “fairness” ends. Playing time is not a privilege, so to say that the fact that he didn’t play earlier is unfair is just something that doesn’t even make sense. It’s an entirely separate discussion as to whether or not it would have been in the team’s, or his, best interests to have him play earlier–the answer to that is that it probably would have been. But no, it was not “unfair” that he did not play sooner.

  • Matthew Marczi

    The article was written in the hours after he was signed and motivated by the discussion that his signing drew. Its being posted was delayed in order to avoid conflicting with other articles that were going up on the site. That is why we are still talking about Boykin.

  • vasteeler

    I’ll take your word that yours had nothing to do with Dave’s writing, could very well be coincidental, nevertheless constructive criticism won’t kill you guys, you guys do great work and every now and then drop a dud similar to this particular one about boykin,I don’t expect you or anyone else to bat 1.000 , but at the same time criticism comes with the territory- I’m sure you know that

  • Matthew Marczi

    Xavier Rhodes over Jarvis Jones is by far the best argument that can be made in defense of the Steelers failing to draft a cornerback in the first round in recent years. The other ones are a stretch at best. Byrd is a safety and the Steelers would have played him there, but they had their safeties. Not a lot of people viewed Devin McCourty as a first-rounder (and I know, I went to Rutgers), and he has shown that his best position at this level is safety too. Ryan Shazier is not too small. Dupree has enormous potential.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Please critique the article and not behind the scenes politics you assume to exist. I was just trying to give you some insight as to how this is all run for the most part. I, myself, and Dave are all relatively autonomous and don’t communicate or coordinate all that much about what we write. Every once in a while we will throw an idea each other’s way if we have a topic that would be more suited to one of the other writers’ skill sets, but for the most part, a lot of times we’re all reading each other’s content for the first time the same time as everyone else, when it gets published.

    I’m obviously open to critiques, as I regularly engage with those who critique my writing. I’d like to think that I do so tactfully and unemotionally for the most part.

  • James Rogers

    Actually, the point is he played better than the others who had played instead of him. So why didn’t he get to play sooner?

  • Matthew Marczi

    That is a separate point. And there are answers for why he didn’t play sooner, but most people agree that with many of them, or at least with their level of importance weighed against other factors. My point in this particular article is that Boykin was not treated unfairly simply because he didn’t play as much as he wanted to. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think he should have been playing more for the betterment of the team.

  • vasteeler

    That’s exactly what I did, critiqued your article, stated clearly that I took your word as being legit , I also noted that it could very well have been coincidental and not out of the realm of possibility, as well as giving you credit for good writings the majority of the time, at this point it seems as though you are just…. Never mind, I know my criticism was fair and as I started before you already know criticism comes with the territory, with all that being said, I do appreciate you at least engaging in dialogue to give your reasoning even though I maintain that the article exhausted and continued the talk of a player who is no longer employed with the steelers organization

  • Matthew Marczi

    Deserve and entitled to are different, Rick. Come on.

  • Matthew Marczi

    The article was written in the hours after Boykin signed with Carolina, but its publication was delayed for multiple reasons. This wasn’t an effort to bleed more clicks out of a topic. When we ended up having the opportunity to run the Boykin interview as we did yesterday, it was decided that we would bump this article until today, just to clarify. That is actually one of the rare instances in which we do coordinate on any level.

  • Rusted Out

    That’s a great point. I’d love to see Tomlin struggle when they challenge him use big words in proper context… I’m cringing thinking about it. Minutia, Lol STFU Mike.

  • William Weaver

    I am not suggesting Tomlin is perfect. He is human. We were an AB injury away from the AFC championship game. If you can’t see the positives of Tomlin, (yes, a GREAT coach) greatly outweigh any perceived negatives, then your the fool!

  • William Weaver

    SB in 05-08- & 10.. Damn we have needed them dominate corners so bad!!! Come on down from the ledge.

  • William Weaver

    And those corners didn’t win the game. Von Miller destroyed them! The pass rush and run stuffing of the Broncos killed the Panthers. Oh, that great secondary of Denver had no answer for AB or Martavis. AB had 17 catches and 300 yards from scrimmage? Great secondary.

  • Rusted Out

    Sorry, just because our Steelers have won the most Superbowls in the modern era, doesn’t excuse fielding a player like Antwon Blake. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t excuse any of the short comings of this team recently.

  • William Weaver

    I agree we shouldn’t be satisfied. Super bowl or bust. I just don’t think our secondary kept us from achieving those goals. We all want better play from the secondary, don’t get me wrong. But pass rush and better luck health wise on offense and we are there. I hope they take a corner early but if not we can win a SB with Gay, Golson, Cockrell if the offense is healthy.

  • Rusted Out

    Yea but cmon man… clamoring that the Steelers have 6 bowls? That is such a knuckle-dragging Yinzer thing to say… I’ve read many of your comments here, you’re smarter than that. lol
    Anyway, I think if Antwon Blake never sees the field last season that may have been the difference. How many starting corners have ever been fielded on the Steelers that have played that poorly? The guy led ALL NFL player in missed tackles. Every single one. He also graded out among the worst in the league by PFF. Not to mention that I saw every snap with my own two eyes, and I don’t buy anyone telling me that he wasn’t the worst thing in Black and Gold last season.
    The only counter arguments I’ve heard are that he was injured, and it’s not his fault, it’s Tomlin’s fault for putting him out there. Oh, and this entire story line of Boykin being considered a “slot only” guy, or not knowing the defense, or being in Tomlin’s doghouse for personal reasons… blah blah blah. I’d challenge anyone to separate the speculation and the word of mouth rhetoric with what actually transpired on the field.
    So, moving forward… both players are gone and never was addition by subtraction a more appropriate cliche. Golson has got to be a step above Blake, and we’ve already seen that Golden has more at this point than Will Allen. Optimism!

  • Matthew Marczi

    I was going to write a response about how the Steelers would have beaten the Broncos if they weren’t hamstrung on offense and that didn’t really have anything to do with Blake. But instead I’m going to focus on your last two sentences. I admit I’m excited about Golson, assuming he plays in the slot. I have a very high opinion of what I saw in his intelligence and fluidity on his college tape, which I think will transition well. And I’m also a fan of Golden, who I believe is probably good enough to be a 16-game starter on a good Steelers defense. And the Steelers will only be adding to this pool of players, of course. So optimism, indeed!

  • Rusted Out

    Hey, I’d love to believe they were an AB injury away too, but the age old “defense wins championships”, still rings more true to me. Even the best offenses are inconsistent, but those championship caliber defenses seem to be more steady week after week. As the moniker “Rusted Out” refers to a once dominant suffocating Steel Curtain D which is indeed in need of a frame-off restoration. Well, maybe just a fresh coat of paint in the form of a beast pass rusher…

  • William Weaver

    You migh see it as knuckle dragging but it is verification that the organizations long term plan has merit. Don’t forget, Cortez and Golson got hurt last year. They signed Cockrell and traded for Boykin. They tried last year. I can see bashing them for believing in Cortez more then I can for playing Blake. Their intentions were for Blake to be a ST player buried in the depth chart.

  • Rusted Out

    You can’t stop this HATE TRAIN Will… hate hate hate hate Woot Woot! Next stop… Tennessee!

  • William Weaver

    Haha! Do we play them next season?

  • Matthew Marczi

    There’s no doubt the defense is still coming together. There have been a couple of missteps along the way (NONE of them were as big as Jarvis Jones), but I think overall they’ve done a pretty solid job of restocking the defense on the fly without ever sinking to levels of awfulness. This could be a big, big draft, and I would be lying if I wasn’t crossing my fingers for at least two defensive backs within the first two days of the draft, especially if the other one happens to be a stud DL.

  • Matthew Marczi

    We get the AFC East this year, so the Patriots once again…and the Colts again as our AFC South opponent.

  • Rusted Out

    I was referring to Blake landing there…

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yeah, I think he meant it like will we get a shot at throwing against Blake. But the Steelers always play the Panthers in the preseason, so maybe we’ll see how Landry Jones looks against Boykin. 😛

  • Rusted Out

    I’d argue that Ziggy is the exact same player as Jarvis in terms of draft order and production, but very interesting to know that you think that. We also saw this team hold on to some savy vets a bit too long without looking past them as starters. I think a little more foresight atleast in the secondary was in order for quite a while now.
    Here’s my take on a DB in the first… After Ramsey and Hargreaves there’s a huge drop off (according to the experts anyways). So just going by Mayock’s board, would you take Eli Apple at 25? I just don’t see the value in a first round DB. Would you say that Eli Apple is BPA at 25? Let’s say that the top three DB’s are gone by 25, then I don’t think there is a prayer that a first round DB will come to fruition. Not to mention that the Steelers never pick up corners in the first… Honestly, Colbert is nothing if not consistent when it comes to draft strategy.
    I really do hate the speculation and the wait. I just don’t find enjoyment in the college game or in players that may never make it on the Steelers roster, or the NFL at all.

  • Rusted Out

    Lol… Another poster said it best here “Brandon Boykin, the most intriguing player of the least significance”. So poetic.

  • William Weaver

    Yeah, I know. I was just wanting to see him and AB matched up one on one for 4 quarters.

  • Rusted Out

    That would be sweet sweet justice. Would love to witness that.

  • Dorian James

    I know you can’t possibly think that having the worst secondary in the league is acceptable? And you totally missed the point. If good corners weren’t a benefit they wouldn’t cost so much. And as for your 6 SB comment, the 70s team’s had outstanding secondaries, and the more recent teams had a fellow with flowing hair, and a knockout artist to compensate. And Mr.Swag wasn’t a slouch.

  • William Weaver

    Sure! Sign me up for a better secondary. Obviously!! But, my point is, we can win a Super Bowl without investing in first round corners. I think this will be the year we take one considering the Rooney comment was fix the pass defense.

  • vasteeler

    you hit the nail on the head rusted out, they probably could have won 1 or 2 more instead of new england

  • vasteeler

    right on buddy! you should be doing some of these articles seriously!!

  • vasteeler

    i never said i dont see positives in tomlin, he’s not a great coach by any means, he’s a great motivator, but please dont suggest he’s a great coach, he’s not lombardi or knoll or even close to their level with his consistent bonehead maneuvers, you went way left field bringing up him being human and positives, just a bunch of bologna, this was originally about him playing blake and benching boykin, you didnt have to change the subject to save face william weaver, like you stated no one is perfect, you were wrong this time buddy

  • William Weaver

    Your good at twisting things into how you want to see them but the facts remain the same. I am not playing along. Think what you want about Tomlin. I am not twisting anything to save anything. I just think all you guys that cry over Blake playing in front of Boykin is funny. You have no idea why and just assume Tomlin is an idiot so yes it was an argument that involved Tomlin. Until the truth comes out there is no right or wrong between you and I. There is only a belief for each of us. I believe there were legitimate reasons for not playing Boykin and you believe it was idiocy. I can agree to disagree but I guess you have a hard time with that. It is ok. I believe the lack of a free agent market for Boykin confirms I am right. The truth will come out when players or coaches eventually talk about it or future play dictates what the truth was. Until then I think it is past time for us to move on!

  • vasteeler

    I agree with the moving on aspect, my particular problem is with boykin’s name being dragged through the mud, by all accounts he was a stellar teammate in Philly and Pittsburgh, furthermore he tested the market as an outside corner first and foremost which contributed to his late signing, it’d not safe to assume that Tomlin handled the situation correctly, even a blind man could see Blake was incompetent as evidenced by offensive coordinators specifically game planning to attack him, also Tomlin was criticized and scrutinized heavily by national media outlets for refusing to sit Blake, Mike Tomlin isn’t an all time great coach and his every decision isn’t correct, it doesn’t take a genius to see that the secondary improved with boykin as opposed to Blake but then again maybe it does

  • Yiz

    Looks like your boy Boykin couldn’t even make it to camp before being cut for 3 inexperienced CB.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Doesn’t matter, Its just the facts.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Way to come back on months later and state the obvious. My boy Boykin? I never said that. I stated the facts. When he finally played late in the season, the secondary got better. That is a fact whether you can handle that or not. lol

    I have no idea, what he does off the field or in the locker room and it doesn’t matter as he is gone.